On May 1st 2014 the merger between the Institute of Plant Virology (IVV) and the Institute for Plant Protection (IPP) of the National Research Council of Italy (CNR) led to the new Institute for Sustainable Plant Protection (IPSP), directed by Dr. Gian Paolo Accotto. Both the former Institutes were already involved in the development of sustainable strategies for plant protection. The new Institute counts nearly 120 people and it is made up of 5 Research Units: the Turin Headquarter, the Turin Unit, the Florence Unit, the Portici Unit (Naples) and the Bari Unit. Such Italy-wide distribution represents an unprecedented opportunity to involve different social, economic and environmental situations. IPSP represents the most important CNR research group dedicated to plant protection in agriculture and forestry and it also acknowledged as one of the most renowned in Europe. It is part of the Department of Bio Agro-Food Sciences.
The research of the Plant Virology Institute is focused on the following Institutional projects:
- Biological and molecular interactions of plants with viruses and virus-like pathogens;
- Intracellular pathogens and genetic and sanitary improvement aimed at increasing the value of grapevine germplasm;
- Conventional and non-conventional resistance against important viruses and phytoplasmas of cultivated plants;
- Genomics of virus-tomato plant interactions
- Plant biotechnology for human health;
- Impact of Ophioviruses, Transmitted by Fungi in the Soil, in Sustainable FloricultureThe Institute conducts applied and basic research on plant viruses and virus-like agents (phytoplasmas and viroids) and on the diseases caused by them, in agricultural and horticultural crops.
The Institute is also strongly involved in competitive basic research.
Different aspects are the interactions between viruses (including phytoplasmas and viroids) with host plants and insect vectors, epidemiology, genetic organization, functional genomics, replication, and studies at cell level of important phenomena such as gene silencing. Some research is conducted in collaboration with personnel from different geographical components of the Institute; these activities are carried out in the Main Institute (Torino) and the Supporting Unit in Piedmont. IVV also includes a Section ocated in Bari, whose activity is not included in the following descritpion.
- Development of methods for diagnosis and characterization of plant viruses and phytoplasmas
- Molecular chacterization of new virus species or strains important in agriculture
- Transcriptomic and genomic studies to identify genes involved in plant-pathogen-vector interactions
- Study of the functions of host genes involved in pathogenesis and resistance to virus infections
- Molecular studies on the interaction between fungal hosts and hypoviruses
- Development of infective clones of viruses using agroinfiltration
- Cell biology studies (optical, electron and fluorescence microscopy)
- Functional genomics study of particularly important cultivars using advanced biomolecular methods and microarrays combined with novel sequencing techniques (“high-throughput sequencing”)
- Expression in plants of heterologous proteins using viral vectors, and improvement of such vectors for use in reverse genetics (virus-induced gene silencing, VIGS)
- Development and maintenance of databanks (Transcriptomic, proteomic and regulatory microRNAs (siRNAs). Maintaining and developing the IVV antiserum bank.
- Study of model species: Arabidopsis thaliana, Chrysanthemum carinatum and Nicotiana benthamiana
- Study of species of economic interest: grapevine, tomato and tobacco
- Genomics of grapevine (varietal fingerprinting, genetic relationships, genetic traceability in musts and wines)
- Rescue, conservation, characterization and improvement of grapevine germplasms (wild and cultivated)
- Genetic and sanitary improvement through selection, in wine varieties
- Interaction genotype/conditions of cultivation, and impact on clonal distinguishing characters in grapevine
- Management of live and in vitro collections of germplasm (selected clones, local cultivars, lines infected with specific viruses and their cleaned-up equivalents)
- Diagnosis of grapevine viruses and phytoplasmas and techniques for eradicating them.
- Effects of viral infection on the physiology and cultural aspects of grapevines and effects on wine quality
- Studies of natural reinfection of grapevines by nepoviruses and ampeloviruses
- Gene transfer by means of Agrobacterium for improving resistance to viruses, and functional characterization of genes
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