Maria Cristina Staiano


Maria (Cristina) Staiano


Direct: +39 0825 299423
Lab: +39 0825 299 216/131
FAX: +39 0825 781585

Short CV

Research Interests

The Laboratory for Molecular Sensing

Molecular Sensing group

The main interest of the laboratory is on understanding the rules underlying the folding of proteins and how their structure is modified by the interaction with other proteins, nucleic acids and small ligand molecules. To approach these issues we use, and occasionally develop, new, advanced optical methodologies. The acquired knowledge in protein structure is used for the design of innovative diagnostic methods and for other biotechnology applications.

The focus is to develop and apply advanced luminescence methodologies and optical measurements to solve questions of biochemical and medical interests.
In particular, our interests are focused on the study at a molecular level of the interactions involving proteins, enzymes, nuclei acids as well as small ligand molecules for contributing to shed light to the fields of proteomics, post-proteomics, interatomic and bio/sensing.
Our lab is equipped with the state-of-art instrumentations for investigating biological interactions by means of FRET, time-resolved FRET, fluorescence polarization, anisotropy decays, fluorescence correlation spectroscopy for single molecule detection, surface plasmon resonance, circular dichroism in the far- and near-UV regions, stopped-flow methodologies, metal enhanced fluorescence.
In addition, the Lab has core collaborations in the fields of bioinformatics, atomic force microscopy, linear spectroscopy, material engineering, and nanotechnology that allow us to handle research projects until they are completely fulfilled.
The Lab is also active in the use of fluorescence to quantify structural features of biological molecules even at nano-scale, and, consequently, to design advanced optical biochips, Lab-on-Chip, or simple disposable biosensors for analyses of high social interest (POCT).
This capability in biophysical methodologies together with expertise in protein biochemistry, molecular genetics and microbiology allows the research team to challenge cutting-edge biochemical questions as well as to rapidly answer to biotechnological requests from SMEs and public institutions.

Keywords: Protein structure and stability; Biosensors; Diagnostic tools; POCT;

Key Publications

Publications (Last five years)

170. A loose domain swapping organization confers a remarkable stability to the dimeric structure of the Arginine Binding Protein from Thermotoga maritima
A. Ruggiero, JD Dattelbaum, M. Staiano, R. Berisio, Sabato D’Auria, L. Vitagliano
PLOS ONE (2014) In Press.

167. The mKO: An orange-emitting fluorescence protein. Structure and stability
A. Ausili, M. Staiano, A. Marabotti, G. D’Auria, JC. Gómez-Fernández, A. Torrecillas, A. Ortiz, Sabato D’Auria
Journal Photochem Photobiol B: Biology (2014); 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2014.04.028

166 A Surface Plasmon Resonance based biochip for the detection of Patulin Toxin
A. Pennacchio, G. Ruggiero, M. Staiano, G. Piccialli, G,  Oliviero, A. Lewkowicz, A. Synak, Sabato D’Auria
Optical Materials (2014) In Press

165. The trehalose/maltose-binding protein as a sensitive element of a glucose biosensor
A.V. Fonin, O.I. Povarova, M. Staiano, Sabato D’Auria, K. K. Turoverov I.M. Kuznetsova
Optical Materials (2014) In Press

162. The Quaternary Structure of the Recombinant Bovine Odorant-Binding Protein is Modulated by Chemical Denaturants
OV. Stepanenko, OV. Stepanenko,  M. Staiano,  IM. Kuznetsova, KK. Turoverov, Sabato D’Auria
PLOS ONE (2014) Jan 7;9(1):e85169.

158. Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy and molecular dynamics simulations to study the structural futures of the maltotriose-binding protein from Thermus thermophilus
A. Varriale, A. Marabotti, G. Mei, M. Staiano, and Sabato D’Auria
PLOS ONE (2013) Jun 4;8(6):e64840. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0064840.

155. Amino acid transport in thermophiles: characterization of an arginine-binding protein from Thermotoga maritima. 4. A brief thermo-story
A. Ausili, M. Staiano, JD. Dattelbaum, A. Varriale, A. Capo, and Sabato D’Auria
Life (2013) 3(1), 149-160

153. Amino acid transport in thermophiles: characterization of an arginine-binding protein from Thermotoga maritima. 3. Conformational dynamics and stability
A. Ausili, A. Pennacchio, M. Staiano, J. D. Dattelbaum, D. Fessas, A. Schiraldi, and Sabato D’Auria
J Photochem Photobiol B. (2013) 118:66-73

152. An Innovative Plastic Optical Fiber-based Biosensor for new Bio/applications. The Case of Celiac Disease
N. Cennamo, A. Varriale, A. Pennacchio, M. Staiano, D. Massarotti, L. Zeni, and Sabato D’Auria
Sensors Actuators B Chemical (2013) 176:1008–1014.

151. Detection of odorant molecules via surface acoustic wave biosensor array based on odorant-binding proteins
F. Di Pietrantonio, D. Cannatà, M. Benetti, E. Verona, A. Varriale, M. Staiano, and Sabato D’Auria
Biosens Bioelectron. 2013 Mar 15;41:328-34

150. Under pressure that splits a family in two. The case of lipocalin family
S. Marchal, A. Marabotti, M. Staiano, A. Varriale, T. Domaschke, R. Lange, and Sabato D’Auria
PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e50489.

147. Determination of benzyl methyl ketone, a commonly used precursor in amphetamine manufacture
S. Di Giovanni, A. Varriale, VM. Marzullo, G. Ruggiero, M. Staiano, A. Secchi, L. Pierno, AM. Fiorello and Sabato D’Auria
Analytical Methods (2012) 4, 3558-3564.

145. Engineering resonance energy transfer for advanced immunoassays: The case of celiac disease
Sabato D’Auria, Apicella E, Staiano M, Di Giovanni S, Ruggiero G, Rossi M, Sarkar P, Luchowski R, Gryczynski I, Gryczynsk Z
Anal Biochem (2012) 1;425(1):13-7.

144. Fluorescence-Baserd Biosensors
M. Strianese, M. Staiano, G. Ruggiero, T. Labella, C. Pellecchia, and Sabato D’Auria
Method Mol Biol. (2012) 875:193-216

143. Porous silicon wafer-based “lab on chip” sensor
Sabato D’Auria, A. Varriale, G. Ruggiero, M. Staiano
Encyclopedia of Metalloproteins  (2012) V. Uversky, RH, Kretsinger, E A. Permyakov (Eds), Springer, New York

142. A surface plasmon resonance-based biochip to reveal traces of ephedrine
A. Varriale, M. Staiano, M. Straianese, M. Marzullo, G, Ruggiero, A. Secchi, M. Dispensa, AM. Fiorello and Sabato D’Auria
Analytical Methods  (2012) 4, 1940-44.

141. D-Serine-Dehydratase from Saccaromyces cerevisiae. A Pyridoxal -5’-phosphate-Dependent Enzyme for Advanced Biotech Applications
M. Staiano, M. Strianese, A. Varriale, S. Di Giovanni, D. Scotto di Mase, V. Dell’Angelo, G. Ruggiero,
T. Labella, C. Pellecchia and Sabato D’Auria
Protein Peptide Letters (2012) Vol. 19, No. 5, 2012.

139. New insight in protein-ligand interactions. 2. Stability and properties of two mutant forms of the D-galactose/D-glucose-binding protein from E. coli.
Stepanenko OV, Fonin AV, Stepanenko OV, Morozova KS, Verkhusha VV, Kuznetsova IM, Turoverov KK, Staiano M, and D’Auria Sabato
J Phys Chem B.  (2011) Jul 28;115(29):9022-32

137. Crystallization and preliminary X-ray crystallographic analysis of ligand-free and arginine-bound forms of Thermotoga maritima arginine-binding protein.
Ruggiero A, Dattelbaum JD, Pennacchio A, Iozzino L, Staiano M, Luchansky MS, Der BS, Berisio R, D’Auria Sabato, Vitagliano L.
Acta Crystallogr Sect F Struct Biol Cryst Commun. 2011 Nov 1;67(Pt 11):1462-5

136. New insight into protein-ligand interactions. The case of the D-galactose/D-glucose-binding protein from E. coli.
OV. Stepanenko, OV. Stepanenko, OI. Povarova, AV. Fonin, IM. Kuznetsova, KK. Turoverov, M. Staiano, A. Varriale, and Sabato D’Auria
Journal Physical Chem B (2011) 115(12):2765-73

134. Absorption into fluorescence. A method to sense biologically relevant gas molecules
M. Strianese, A. Varriale, M. Staiano, C. Pellecchia, and Sabato D’Auria
Nanoscale (2011) 3:298-302

132. Denaturation of Proteins with beta-barrel topology induced by guanidinium hydrochloride.
OV. Stepanenko, IM. Kuznetsova, VV. Verkusha, M. Staiano, Sabato  D’Auria, KK. Turoverov
Spectroscopy (2010) 24, 367-373.

131.High stability of trehalose/maltose binding protein from Thermococcus litoralis makes it a good candidate as a sensitive element in biosensor systems for sugar control.
OI. Povarova, OV. Stepanenko, AI. Sulatskaya, IM. Kuznetsova, KK. Turoverov, M. Staiano, A. Vitale, and Sabato D’Auria
Spectroscopy (2010) 24: 349-353.

130. Structure and stability of D-galactose/D-glucose-binding protein. The role of D-glucose binding and Ca ion depletion
OV. Stepanenko OI. Povarovaa, OV. Stepanenko, AV. Fonin, IM. Kuznetsova, KK. Turoverov, M. Staiano, and Sabato D’Auria
Spectroscopy (2010) 24: 355-359.

128. Amino acid transport in thermophiles: characterization of an arginine-binding protein in Thermotoga maritima. 2. Molecular organization and structural stability
A. Scirè, A. Marabotti, M. Staiano, L. Iozzino, MS. Luchansky, BS. Der, JD. Dattelbaum, F. Tanfani, and Sabato D’Auria
Mol Biosyst. (2010) Apr;6(4):687-9

127. New trends in bio/nanotechnology. Stable proteins as advanced molecular tools for health and environment
M. Staiano, M. Baldassarre, M. Esposito, R. Vitale, V. Aurilia and Sabato D’Auria
Environmental Technology (2010) (8-9), 935-42.

126. Crystal structure of an S-formylglutathione hydrolase from Pseudoalteronomas haloplanktis TAC 125
V. Alterio, V. Aurilia, A. Romanelli, A. Parracino, M. Saviano, Sabato D’Auria, G.  De Simone
Biopolymers (2010) 8,669-677.

122. Nanostructured silver-based surfaces: new emergent methodologies for an easy detection of analytes
Staiano M., Matveva E. Rossi, M, Crescenzo r., Iozzino, L., Gryczniski, I., Gryczniski, Z, and Sabato  D’Auria
ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, (2009) 1 (12), 2909–291.

121. Pressure Effects on the structure and stability and of the hyperthermophilic trehalose/maltose-binding protein from Thermococcus litoralis
Marchal S., Staiano M, Marabotti A., Vitale A., varriale, A., Lange R., and D’Auria Sabato
J Phys Chem B. (2009) 113(38):12804-8.

119. FCS-based sensing for the detection of Ocratoxin A and Neomycin in food
A. Varriale, M. Staiano,L. Iozzino, L. Severino,  A. Anastasio, ML Cortesi, and Sabato D’Auria
Protein Peptide Letters (2009) 16,12, 1425-1429.

117. Structure and stability of a rat odorant-binding protein. Another brick in the wall”
Scire, A., Marabotti A., Staiano M., Briand L., Varriale A., Bertoli E., Tanfani F., and  Sabato D’Auria
J Proteome Res. (2009) (8):4005-13.

Research Group

The Staff

Photo Name Position email Tel. FAX
dauria Sabato D’Auria Senior Scientist and Lab Coordinator email
staiano-maria Maria Staiano Scientist email
Antonio_Varriale Antonio Varriale Scientist email
pennacchio Angela Pennacchio Post Doc email
defaultUser Alessandro Capo PhD Students email
defaultUser Stefano Di Giovanni PhD Students email
defaultUser Andrea Scala PhD Students email
defaultUser Adelia Majoli Undergraduate Students email
Tania_Nero Clotilde Capacchione Undergraduate Students email
capacchione Tania Nero Undergraduate Students email

Associate Personnel

Patrizia Falabella  – Associate Professor University of Basilicata

Paolo Ciambelli –  Full Professor University of Salerno

Loredana Incarnato  –  Full Professor University of Salerno

Emiliano Descrovi   – Associate Professor University of Turin


Undergraduate Students:

Fabrizio Alfieri
Fabrizio Pelella
Maurizio Baldassarre
Gianluca Aquino
Paola Ringhieri
Luisa Iozzino
Olesya Stephanenko
Maria Grazia Esposito
Rosa Vitale
Olga Spephanenko
Annalisa Vitale
Ane Kold
Valentina Dell’Angelo
Olga Povorova
Valeria Crudele
Carlo Parillo
Cocozza Immacolata
Gerwin Grossinger
Daniela Cangiano
Gina D’Auria
Adelia Majoli
Clotilde Capacchione
Tania Nero

PhD Students

Viviana Scognamiglio
Antonietta Parracino
Antonio Varriale
Roberta Crescenzo
Annalisa Vitale
Luisa Iozzino
Elisa Apicella
Vincenzo M. Marzullo
Maria Staiano
Alessandro Capo
Stefano Di Giovanni


Dr. Marcella de Champdorè
Dr. Donatella Scotto di Mase
Dr. Michaela Tartaglia
Dr. Andrea Scala
Dr. Stefano Di Giovanni

Visiting Scientists/Professors:

Prof. Petr Herman
Dr. Irina Kuznetsova
Prof. June Kang
Dr. Eva Matveeva
Prof. Konstantin K Turoverov
Prof. Margarita Kamburova
Dr. Vanya Bogoeva
Dr. Ivan J Barvik
Prof. Jarek Vecer
Prof. Ignacy Gryczynski