Main objective of the course is to focus on the relationships and the modality of communication that plants establish with the environment that surrounds them, especially in relation to recent and sudden climate change and growing anthropic pressure.
Particular emphasis is placed on the analysis of adaptive and acclimation processes of plants, which display powerful strategies to communicate, compete as well as defend and protect themselves against biotic and abiotic stresses.
In particular, the course aims to highlight how these strategies, which are achieved through re-modulation of developmental programs and reconfiguration of metabolism, are allowed by the evolution of sophisticated mechanisms of perception of external stimuli and rapid responses.


teacher profile | materiale didattico


Plants are sessile organism. Main strategies of response to environmental stimuli. Re-modulation of developmental programs. Immobility and totipotency of plant cells. Role of plant cell wall in growth. Physiological and metabolic alteration. Cell-cell communication and long-distance communication: hormones, transcription factors, waves of reactive oxygen species and electrical signals. Perception of internal and external stimuli. Main classes of receptors and intracellular transduction pathways. Integration of different signals and signaling pathways. Secondary metabolism: biosynthesis and roles of secondary metabolites in plant/plant, plant/insects, plant/microorganism communication. Fundamentals of plant pathology: mechanism of infection and resistance. Host-pathogen interaction. Control of plant diseases by chemicals, biological fight, breeding and genetic engineering. Responses to abiotic stresses (drought, flooding, high salinity, high and low temperature, high light).

Practical laboratories
Analysis of the expression levels of amine oxidase-encoding genes in wounded and unwounded Arabidopsis seedlings: RNA extraction and quantification by RTqPCR (Reverse transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction)
Observation under light microscopy of tissue-specific gene expression of copper amine oxidases (AtCuAO) after GUS-staining using 5-day-old PromAtCuAO-GUS-GFP Arabidopsis transgenic seedlings.

Testi Adottati

1) Interazioni Piante-Ambiente. Luigi Sanità di Toppi; Piccin Editore
2) Biologia delle Piante Vol. 2: Interazioni con l’ambiente e Domesticazione. Smith A. M. et al; Zanichelli Editore

The professor receives every day by appointment via e-mail: alessandra.cona@uniroma3.it

Bibliografia Di Riferimento

1) Fondamenti di Patologia Vegetale. Alberto Matta et al; Patron Editore, Bologna 2) Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Plants. Buchanan et al.; John Wiley & Sons Inc 3) Plant Physiology and Development. Taiz L. et al.; 2015 Sinauer Associates. 4) Materiale fornito durante lo svolgimento del corso

Modalità Erogazione

The course will take place with lectures

Modalità Valutazione

Option 1: oral exam on the whole program Option 2: Preparation of a 5-page written essay (10 points) and a power point oral presentation (30 minutes) on a topic proposed by the student (15 points). Two general questions on topics covered in the lessons (5 points).