December 24th, 2016

Multiple Sclerosis, molecular mechanisms and bacterial infections - A study conducted by PeptLab researchers with an international team published in Nature Scientific Reports

The etiopathogenesis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is still an unknown debated question. One of the most relevant hypothesis considers the possible involvement of bacterial infections triggering at the molecular level an autoimmune response and therefore the manifestation of the disease.

This is the pathway that has been followed by an international research team led by Anna Maria Papini and that was recently published in Nature Scientific Reports ("Antibodies from multiple sclerosis patients preferentially recognize hyperglucosylated adhesin of non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae" - DOI: 10.1038/srep39430).

"Antibodies present in blood of patients affected by MS recognise specifically the protein adhesin produced by the bacterium  Haemophilus influenzae in a hyperglucosylated form”, clarifies Anna Maria Papini. “Our data indicate for the first time that a bacterial protein could be one of the native antigen leading to the production of antibodies by stimulating the immune system." 

The study is part of a stream of research initiated in 1995 with the ”Project Multiple Sclerosis”, funded by the Italian Higher Institute of Health (ISS), to investigate the molecular mechanisms of MS. The project led to the establishment of the Interdepartmental Laboratory of Peptide and Protein Chemistry and  Biology of the University of Florence. 

"These results are connected to the original observation, published by our team in 1999, that synthetic peptides characterised by “hairpin structures”, but only those bearing glucose moiety on the tip of the hairpin, are able to recognise serum antibodies in MS patients”, A.M. Papini points out. “The new results show that the peptides previously described, mimic portions of the bacterial hyperglucosylated adhesin, paving the way of a molecular mimicry mechanism by which human proteins become the target of specific antibodies in MS".

The project was developed in tight collaboration with researchers from MIT (Boston, USA), the Weizmann Institute of Science (Rheovot, Israel) and the Multiple Sclerosis Centre of the University of Naples Hospital.

Co-sponsors of the study were also Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze and Regione Toscana (MARK project: “Identification of diagnostic biomarkers for immune system-mediated diseases”).


Self-assembled peptides: from nanostructure to bioactivity

The Royal Society at Chicheley Hall, Buckinghamshire

Monday 24th – Tuesday 25th October 2016

Organised by Professor Ian Hamley, Professor Dek Woolfson, Professor Louise Serpell, Dr Alberto Saiani and Professor Raffaele Mezzenga

The audio recordings of each of the talks from the above meeting are now online, excluding those of you who requested that these were not shared. Please see the meeting webpage and click on the link following each abstract;

February 21-26, 2016

Gordon Research Conference 2016 Peptides Chemistry & Biology

Peptides, Chemistry & Biology of
Gordon Research Conference

Crossing Barriers by Peptide Science for Health and Wellness


February 21-26, 2016


Ventura Beach Marriott
Ventura, CA


Philip E. Dawson & Anna Maria Papini 

Vice Chairs: 
Jennifer R. Cochran & James S. Nowick

Meeting Description

Peptides are molecules, ubiquitous in Nature, that play critical roles in biomedicine, agriculture, material and food science, etc. As a mature field of investigation, many basic properties and applications involving peptides have already been explored in detail. In order to continue advancing peptide science, barriers will have to be overcome with respect to predicting, synthesizing and testing, the structure and function of peptides. Future advances in peptide science will require researchers to overcome the physical barriers of the gut, brain and cellular membranes and also the technological, social, diversity and conceptual barriers that that currently limit scientists’ ability to realize the full potential of peptide science in the -omics era. To do this, the GRC will bring together scientists from academia and industry, and across all aspects of peptide chemistry, biology, and technology to critically evaluate the current state of the art, and future prospects of areas such as peptide drugs, vaccines, immunology, diagnostics, nutraceutics, cosmetics. The conference will also explore the frontiers of synthetic methodologies for the design, production, analysis, delivery of complex peptides and peptide-like polymers.The 2016 program will feature invited talks from leaders in the field from around the world; as well as talks from early career scientists; poster sessions; and, of course in the GRC tradition, plenty of time for discussion, scientific exchanges, and for continuing to building the peptide-science community across barriers. The GRC has several programs to encourage and support attendance by underrepresented groups, which we endorse and encourage application.

February 17th, 2016

The thesis in biotechnology of Emma Piattelli, entitled “Study of the interaction between N-glucosylated bacterial adhesin and autoantibodies purified from multiple sclerosis patients sera” (“Studio dell'interazione fra adesina batterica N-glucosilata e autoanticorpi purificati da sieri di pazienti affetti da Sclerosi Multipla” - tutor: P. Rovero, PeptLab 2014), has been granted  the “Claudio Orlando Memorial Award” by the School of Medical Sciences of the University of Florence.

Complimenti, Emma!

February 10-12, 2016

1st MS Peptide Day




Wednesday February 10, 2016

14:00 - 14:30 – Registration & Poster Hanging

14:30 - 15:00 – Welcome addresses

Session 1 - MS and peptides: a lifelong partnership

Chairperson: Donatella Caruso, University of Milano (Italy), Fulvio Magni, University of Milano Bicocca (Italy)

15:00 - 15:50 – PL1 Pietro Traldi, Istituto di Ricerca Pediatrica “Città della Speranza” (Italy).

“MS and peptides: an old but well consolidated affair”

Session 2 - MS and peptides: insight into structure

Chairpersons: Michael Przybylski, University of Konstanz (Germany), Vincenzo Cunsolo, University of Catania (Italy)

15:50 - 16:40 – PL2 Bela Paizs, Bangor University (UK).

“Mobilities, collision cross-sections and peptide fragmentation chemistry”

16:40 - 17:30 – PL3Jean-Claude Tabet, University of Paris VI (France).

“Amino acids and peptides into single charged complexes: zwitterion influence dissociation orientation independent to the charge polarity”

17:30 - 18:00 – Welcome cocktail


 Thursday February 11, 2016

Session 3 - MS and peptides: biomedical,  pharmaceutical & food applications

Chairpersons: Bela Paizs, Bangor University (UK), Antonio Triolo, Menarini (Italy)

9:15 - 10:05 – PL4 – Michael Przybylski, University of Konstanz (Germany).

“New perspectives for proteomics, biomedical and biomolecular recognition analysis by combination of affinity tools and mass spectrometry”

10:05 - 10:30 – OP1 – Virginie Lemaire, Sigma-Aldrich a part of Merck (France).

Chromatographic separation of biomolecules : today’s modes, mechanism, and column options”

10:30-11:15 – Coffee break & poster session

11:15 - 11:40 – OP2 Philippe Vassault, Waters (France).

“How to improve peptide identification and quantification with ion mobility”

11:40 - 12:05 – OP3 Barbara Prandi, University of Parma (Italy).

“Mass spectrometry detection of beef and pork meat in complex food matrices”

12:05 - 12:30 – OP4 Claire Dauly, Thermo Fisher Scientific (France).

“Pushing the limits of bottom-up proteomics with state-of-the-art UHPLC and orbitrap mass spectrometry”

12:30 - 12:55 – OP5 Sara Crotti, Istituto di Ricerca Pediatrica “Città della Speranza” (Italy).

“Predictive and diagnostic performances of circulating peptides in colorectal cancers”

12:55 - 14:20 – Buffet lunch

14:20 - 14:35 – Claudio Toniolo, University of Padova (Italy).

“Presentation of the Italian Peptide Society (ItPS)”

Session 4: MS and peptides: proteomic aspects

Chairperson: Giuliana Bianco, University of Basilicata (Italy), Jean-Claude Tabet, University of Paris VI (France).

14:35 - 15:25 PL5Nathalie Norais, GSK (Italy).

Isotopically labelled peptides for quantitative proteomics”

15:25 - 15:50 – OP6Tullia Tedeschi, University of Parma (Italy).

“Molecular characterisation of protein hydrolysates obtained by enzymatic digestion of fleshing meat”

15:50 - 16:20 – Coffee break

 16:20 - 16:45 – OP7 Francesco Tisato, IENI - CNR (Italy).

“ESI-MSn study of the interaction products of cytotoxic phosphino copper(I) complexes with model peptides”

16:45 - 17:10 – OP8 Claudia Bello, University of Vienna (Austria).

“A chemoenzymatic approach for the synthesis of homogeneously glycosylated MUC1 variants for proteomic studies”

20:30 – Social dinner at Palazzo Borghese


Friday February 12, 2016

Session 5: MS and peptides: developments and perspectives

Chairperson: Pietro Traldi, Istituto di Ricerca Pediatrica “Città della Speranza” (Italy).

9:15 - 10:05 – PL6 Zbigniew Szewczuk,University of Wroclaw (Poland).

"Derivatization of peptides for improved analysis by ESI-MS"

10:05 - 10:35 – Round Table: MS and peptides: looking ahead

Moderators: Paolo Rovero, University of Florence (Italy), Anna Maria Papini, University of Florence (Italy).

10:35 - 10:45 – Concluding remarks

11:00 - 12:00 – Turist visit to "Cenacolo di Santa Apollonia"


PL = Plenary Lecture

OP = Oral Presentation


 Images from the Congress