Walter Chitarra

The research activity is mainly focused on:
Genotype-environment interaction. The whole genome sequencing of three ‘Nebbiolo’ clones is the starting point for the study of the interactions between genotype and climatic conditions of cultivation, that define the wine terroir. The research is carried out using agronomic, transcriptomics (RNA-seq) and epigenomics (BS-seq) approaches, in order to link gene expression profiles between three clones and four different cultural environments. In parallel, the interaction between genotype and environment is also studied in vitro on ‘Sangiovese’ and ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’, in order to characterize the plasticity of somatic embryogenesis and study the molecular mechanisms underlying this process (the study of WOX genes in Arabidopsis plants genetically transformed).

Plant-pathogen interaction. The study of plant responses to biotic and abiotic stresses is conducted through eco-physiological, transcriptomics (microarray, RNA-seq e qRT-PCR), small RNAs (miRNAs and vsiRNA) and epigenomics analysis, with particular attention to major grape viruses (GRSPaV and GFkV) and phytoplasmas (Flavescence dorée) and/or under water stress conditions.

Plant-AM fungi interaction. The study of the interaction and responses of mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal tomato plants (Solanum lycopersicum L.) to biotic (eg insects) and abiotic (water stress) is performed through eco-physiological and transcriptomic analysis.

Genotyping and sanitary status of clones. Identification of molecular markers SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism), in order to develop techniques for genotyping using Taqman method in order to improve the traceability of the grapevine propagation material, and the clonal identification. Diagnosis of major virus and phytoplasma with serological and molecular techniques.

During my PhD and postdoc grants at AGROINNOVA – University of Turin, the main research has focused on the study of water metabolism and activity of aquaporins during water stress. Eco-physiological and molecular responses of plants of Vitis vinifera L. and Zea mays L. were analyzed. Isolation and identification of fungal pathogens, plant-pathogen interaction under climate change scenario were conducted. Furthermore, study of sustainable strategies (e.g. use of waste products) against Fusarium pathogens for different vegetable crops were also performed.
Other skills are referred on: metagenomic analysis of fungal and bacterial microflora in natural soil / growing media. Identification, isolation and molecular serotyping of the enteric human pathogens (E. coli STEC, Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes) from food matrices (leafy vegetables) and soil / growing media.


Articles and book chapters since 2008

  • 2018 - The Association With Two Different Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Differently Affects Water Stress Tolerance in Tomato - Volpe V., Chitarra, W., Cascone P., Volpe M.G., Bartolini P., Moneti G., Pieraccini G., Di Serio C., Maserti B., Guerrieri E., Balestrini R. - Frontiers In Plant Science ,
  • 2018 - Two phytoplasmas elicit different responses in the insect vector Euscelidius variegatus Kirschbaum - Galetto L., Abbà S., Rossi M., Vallino M., Pesando M., Arricau-Bouvery N., Dubrana M.-P., Chitarra W., Pegoraro M., Bosco D., Marzachì C. - Infection And Immunity , volume 86
  • 2018 - miRVIT: A novel miRNA database and its application to uncover vitis responses to flavescence dorée infection - Chitarra W., Pagliarani C., Abbà S., Boccacci P., Birello G., Rossi M., Palmano S., Marzachì C., Perrone I., Gambino G. - Frontiers in plant science, volume 9
  • 2018 - Mycoviruses mediate mycotoxin regulation in Aspergillus ochraceus - Nerva L., Chitarra W., Siciliano I., Gaiotti F., Ciuffo M., Forgia M., Varese G.C., Turina M. - Environmental Microbiology ,
  • 2018 - Improvement of plant performance under water deficit with the employment of biological and chemical priming agents - Balestrini R., Chitarra W., Antoniou C., Ruocco M., Fotopoulos V. - Journal Of Agricultural Science , 156:680-688
  • 2018 - Dissecting interplays between Vitis vinifera L. and grapevine virus B (GVB) under field conditions - Chitarra W., Cuozzo D., Ferrandino A., Secchi F., Palmano S., Perrone I., Boccacci P., Pagliarani C., Gribaudo I., Mannini F., Gambino G. - Molecular Plant Pathology , 19: 2651-2666
  • 2017 - Whole-genome sequencing and SNV genotyping of ‘Nebbiolo’ (Vitis vinifera L.) clones - Gambino G., Dal Molin A., Boccacci P., Minio A., Chitarra W., Avanzato C.G., Tononi P., Perrone I., Raimondi S., Schneider A., Pezzotti M., Mannini F., Gribaudo I., Delledonne M. - Scientific reports, volume 7
  • 2017 - Grapevine Grafting: Scion Transcript Profiling and Defense-Related Metabolites Induced by Rootstocks - Chitarra W., Perrone I., Avanzato C.G., Minio A., Boccacci P., Santini D., Gilardi G., Siciliano I., Gullino M.L., Delledonne M., Mannini F., Gambino G. - Frontiers in plant science, 8: 654
  • 2017 - Potential role of beneficial soil microorganisms in plant tolerance to abiotic stress factors - Balestrini R., Chitarra W., Fotopoulos V., Ruocco M. - Publisher: Springer International Publishing, 191-207
  • 2017 - Cultivar-specific gene modulation in Vitis vinifera: Analysis of the promoters regulating the expression of WOX transcription factors - Boccacci P., Mela A., Pavez Mina C., Chitarra W., Perrone I., Gribaudo I., Gambino G. - Scientific reports, 7: 45670
  • 2017 - Ozone Improves the Aromatic Fingerprint of White Grapes - Rio Segade S., Vilanova M., Giacosa S., Perrone I., Chitarra W., Pollon M., Torchio F., Boccacci P., Gambino G., Gerbi V., Rolle L. - Scientific reports, volume 7