Franco Giorgi

Franco Giorgi
Università di Pisa | UNIPI

PhD

About

113
Publications
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Introduction
Biological understanding of the bio-psycho-social architecture of living relationships - Biosemiotic approach to communication amongst living organisms, with special reference to the role of that semiotic boundary and autopoiesis play in defining self-identity

Publications

Publications (113)
Article
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Thick description was originally proposed to overcome the limitations of quantitative research and ground anthropological observations in concrete people’s expectations, rather than in normative theories. The ultimate objective was to account for the emotional aspects of worldviews and value-orientations that would otherwise be left tacit or implic...
Preprint
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Muscarinic acetylcholine receptors are G protein-coupled receptors activated by the endogenous neurotransmitter acetylcholine. We show here that the carboxyl terminal fragment of the muscarinic M 2 receptor, containing the transmembrane regions 6 and 7 (M 2 tail), is expressed by virtue of an internal ribosome entry site. Radioligand binding, bioch...
Chapter
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Life has been defined as the quality that distinguishes functional beings from corpses. This distinction is primarily based on properties that living systems have expressed during evolution. On this ground, to be alive appears to depend on the system’s capacity to persist invariant on the condition of holding mutually dependent such magnitudes as f...
Article
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The biopsychosocial model was initially proposed to overcome the normative assumption that human diseases are exclusively due to disordered biochemical and/or neurophysiological processes. The model attempts to explain how expectations, thoughts and feelings modify the patient’s motivations to deal with illness and recovery. By considering the phys...
Article
Patient‐centred care is an approach intended to include service‐users' needs and perspectives as crucial aspects of clinical treatment, superseding any attempt to paternalistic and unilateral attitude in the therapeutic relationship. It is a call to think about persons and not simply of their diseases and implies the adoption of a biopsychosocial p...
Article
Established at the annual meeting of the International Society for Biosemiotic Studies (ISBS) on July 3rd 2014, in conjunction with Springer Publishing, publishers of the Society’s official journal, Biosemiotics, the Annual Biosemiotic Achievement Award seeks to recognize those papers published in the journal that present novel and potentially impo...
Article
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The study of such complex issues as mind functioning and mental health requires a multilevel approach. The general system theory elaborated by Ludwig von Bertalanffy in the first half of the twentieth century can still be viewed as a landmark contribution to address these issues scientifically. His seminal work represents an incomparable conceptual...
Article
Curcumin‐loaded collagen cryostructurates have been devised for wound healing applications. Curcumin displays strong antioxidant, antiseptic, and anti‐inflammatory properties, while collagen is acknowledged for promoting cell adhesion, migration and differentiation. However, when curcumin is loaded directly into collagen hydrogels, it forms large m...
Article
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Objective: Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) is an organochlorine known for its pesticide properties and for its negative effects on human health. It was banned in most countries for its toxicity to the endocrine system, but due to its persistence at clinically relevant concentrations in both soil and animal tissues, DDT is still linked to sev...
Article
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A number of studies have demonstrated that rural living and exposure to pesticides such as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) highly increase the chances of developing Parkinson’s disease. In a previous work, we have found that DDT leads to the formation of vesicular buds that are released from the cells upon fusion of an intermediate endocytic...
Article
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Cell communication plays a key role in multicellular organisms. In developing embryos as in adult organisms, cells communicate by coordinating their differentiation through the establishment and/or renewal of a variety of cell communication channels. Under both these conditions, cells interact by either receptor signalling, surface recognition of s...
Article
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In this introductory article to the special issue on Multi-level semiosis we attempt to stage the background for qualifying the notion of “multi-levelness” when considering communication processes and semiosis in all life forms, i.e. from the cellular to the organismic level. While structures are organized hierarchically, communication processes re...
Article
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This study shows that fibroblasts migrating into a collagen matrix release numerous microvesicles into the surrounding medium. By spreading in regions of the matrix far distant from cells of origin, microvesicles carry metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) to act upon the collagen fibrils. As a result, the collagen matrix is gradually transformed from a lami...
Article
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Germ cells are cross-roads of development and evolution. They define the origin of every new generation and, at the same time, represent the biological end-product of any mature organism. Germ cells are endowed with the following capacities: (1) to store a self-descriptive program, (2) to accumulate a protein-synthesizing machinery (ribosomes), and...
Article
Collagen based scaffolds are used as temporary or permanent coverings to help wound healing. Under natural conditions, wound healing is affected by such factors as cell types, growth factors and several components of the extracellular matrix. Due to the complexity of the cell-to-matrix interaction, many cell based mechanisms regulating wound healin...
Article
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The concept of scaffolding has wide resonance in several scientific fields. Here we attempt to adopt it for the study of development. In this perspective, the embryo is conceived as an integral whole, comprised of several hierarchical modules as in a recurrent circularity of emerging patterns. Within the developmental hierarchy, each module yields...
Article
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The lampbrush chromosomes from oocytes of Rana esculenta L. have been observed by phase contrast microscopy.The lengths of the thirteen lampbrush chromosomes have been calculated by the averages of the length of each chromosome in the nine oocytes observed, in relation to the length of bivalent XIII taken as 100 units.Several landmarks such as sphe...
Article
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The egg behaves as a prospective cell sustaining the developmental processes of the future embryo. In biosemiotic terms, this apparent teleonomic behaviour can be accounted for without referring to the exclusive causal role played by its genetic makeup. We envision two different processes that are uniquely found in the oocyte: (1) the first involve...
Article
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Receptor oligomerization plays a key role in maintaining genome stability and restricting protein mutagenesis. When properly folded, protein monomers assemble as oligomeric receptors and interact with environmental ligands. In a gene-centered view, the ligand specificity expressed by these receptors is assumed to be causally predetermined by the ce...
Article
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Any living organism interacts with and responds specifically to environmental molecules by expressing specific olfactory receptors. In this paper, this specificity will be first examined in causal terms with particular emphasis on the mechanisms controlling olfactory gene expression, cell-to-cell interactions and odor-decoding processes. However, t...
Article
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The aim of this study was to compare the capacity of the collagen products Biopad (Euroresearch, Milano, Italy), Promogran (Systagenix Wound Management, Quincy, Massachusetts), Colactive (Smith & Nephew, St Petersburg, Florida), and Puracol (Medline Industries, Mundelein, Illinois) to interact with biological tissues and to start restoring the heal...
Article
DDT is a highly lipophilic molecule known to deplete membrane rafts of their phosphoglycolipid and cholesterol contents. However, we have recently shown that DDT can also alter the thyroid homeostasis by inhibiting TSH receptor (TSHr) internalization. The present study was undertaken to verify whether DDT goitrogenic effects are due to the insectic...
Article
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Stocks of sympatric autogamous (A+) and nonautogamous (A−) populations of the ciliate Euplotes crassus have been analysed using sodium dodecyl sulfate – polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. These stocks differ markedly in the protein contents of their particulate cell fractions. The results agree with breeding tests and studies on the physiological...
Article
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Thyroid hormone release requires degradation of thyroglobulin (Tg) by thyroid epithelial cells, which occurs mainly in the lysosomal pathway following Tg endocytosis. Non-specific fluid-phase endocytosis is thought to be the main route of Tg uptake leading to degradation, whereas receptor- mediated endocytosis is believed to lead to post-endocytic...
Article
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The majority of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) self-assemble in the form dimeric/oligomeric complexes along the plasma membrane. Due to the molecular interactions they participate, GPCRs can potentially provide the framework for discriminating a wide variety of intercellular signals, as based on some kind of combinatorial receptor codes. GPCRs...
Article
In a previous work we found that the insecticide 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethane (DDT), inhibits the accumulation of cAMP as induced by the bovine thyroid stimulating hormone (bTSH) in cells transfected with the TSH receptor. In this work, we demonstrate that the DDT molecular analogues, diethylstilbestrol and quercetine, are more pot...
Article
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The thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) receptor (TSHr) was made specifically fluorescent by insertion of a tetracysteine motif (TSHr-FlAsH) into the C-terminal end and transiently transfected into COS-7 and HeLa cells. The observation that TSH administration caused the intracellular level of cAMP to increase in both TSHr-FlAsH-transfected cell types...
Article
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The Vps10p family member sortilin is involved in various cell processes, including protein trafficking. Here we found that sortilin is expressed in thyroid epithelial cells (thyrocytes) in a TSH-dependent manner, that the hormone precursor thyroglobulin (Tg) is a high-affinity sortilin ligand, and that binding to sortilin occurs after Tg endocytosi...
Article
Developing embryos of the stick insect Carausius morosus were examined ultrastructurally with a view to studying vitellophage invasion of the yolk mass during and after germ band formation. Newly laid eggs in C.morosus have a unique yolk fluid compartment surrounded by a narrow fringe of cytoplasm comprising several small yolk granules. Vitellophag...
Article
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In this study, we aimed at establishing whether two previously identified thyroid disruptors, the insecticide 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethane (DDT) and Aroclor 1254 (a complex mixture of polychlorinated water), may inhibit thyrotropin (TSH) receptor (TSHr) activity. DDT and Aroclor 1254 were shown to inhibit both the basal and bovine...
Article
This study is aimed at demonstrating the role played by a calpastatin isoform (Xcalp3) in Xenopus embryos. A specific monoclonal antibody (mAb) was raised against a glutathione S-transferase (GST)-Xcalp3 fusion protein and characterized by immunoblotting and confocal fluorescence microscopy on stage 20-36 embryos. Under these conditions, calpastati...
Article
Vascular smooth muscle (VSM) cells constitute the main structural components of tunica media. Under physiological conditions, these cells display a contractile phenotype and a low proliferative activity. However, they may also acquire a synthetic phenotype and become predominantly proliferative if stimulated under certain stress conditions. This ca...
Article
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Retroviruses have evolved various mechanisms to optimize their transfer to new target cells via late endosomes. Here, we analyzed the transfer of ZAM, a retroelement from Drosophila melanogaster, from ovarian follicle cells to the oocyte at stage 9-10 of oogenesis, when an active yolk transfer is occurring between these two cell types. Combining ge...
Article
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beta-Arrestins regulate the functioning of G protein-coupled receptors in a variety of cellular processes including receptor-mediated endocytosis and activation of signaling molecules such as ERK. A key event in these processes is the G protein-coupled receptor-mediated recruitment of beta-arrestins to the plasma membrane. However, despite extensiv...
Article
The ovarian follicular epithelium in insects is a polarized tissue sustaining vitellogenin uptake in growing oocytes. We studied this tissue in the stick insect Carausius morosus to establish how yolk polypeptides reach the oocyte. By confocal fluorescence analysis, follicle cells were shown to be polarized through differential distribution of cyto...
Article
Vitellin polypeptides are proteolytically processed in ovarian follicles and embryos of the stick insect Carausius morosus. Data show that vitellin polypeptide A(3) of 54kDa is processed to yield polypeptide A(3)(*) of about 48kDa upon completion of ovarian development, whereas vitellin polypeptide A(2) of 90kDa yields polypeptide E(9) during embry...
Article
A panel of monoclonal antibodies was raised against late yolk sacs of the stick insect Carausius morosus and tested by immunoblotting to establish the extent vitellin polypeptides are processed proteolytically during embryonic development. Cryosections of late yolk sacs were also examined by confocal laser microscopy to determine how vitellin cleav...
Article
In mid-embryogenesis, the stick insect Carausius morosus comes to be comprised of three distinct districts: the embryo proper, the yolk sac and the perivitelline fluid. A monolayered epithelium, the so-called serosa membrane, encloses the yolk sac and its content of vitellophages and large yolk granules. During embryonic development, the yolk sac d...
Article
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Newly laid eggs of stick insects comprise a unique fluid ooplasm that is gradually partitioned into a number of yolk granules by invasion of secondary vitellophages. This study aimed at establishing how yolk granules become acidified in the course of embryonic development. Data show that acidified yolk granules are rather scarce and randomly distri...
Article
This study investigates the developmental fate of vitellin (Vt) polypeptides generated by limited proteolysis in an insect embryo. To this end, a number of polyclonal (pAb) and monoclonal antibodies (mAb) were raised against the yolk sac and the perivitelline fluid of late embryos of the stick insect Carausius morosus. Two dimensional immuno gel el...
Article
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A cysteine proprotease has been identified in developing embryos of the cockroach Blattella germanica and found to be a maternally encoded gene product that is transferred endocytically to the oocyte. The present study aims at establishing how this maternally derived proprotease is synthesized, packaged, and secreted during vitellogenesis. To this...
Article
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ZAM is an env-containing member of thegypsy family of retrotransposons that represents a possible retrovirus of invertebrates. In this paper, we tracedZAM mobilization to get information about a potential path a retroelement may take to reach the germ line of its host. In situ hybridization on whole-mount tissues and immunocytochemistry analyses wi...
Article
This review focuses on the current status of knowledge regarding the process of vitellogenin (Vg) uptake and vitellin (Vt) storage in insect oocytes. We also consider the overall morphology of the yolk sac as an embryonic organ allowing for both temporal and spatial differentiation of yolk degradation to provide the primary food supply for the embr...
Article
Synthesis and secretion of vitellogenin (Vg) polypeptides were studied in egg-laying females of the stick insect Carausius morosus following in vivo exposure to [35S]-methionine and acetyl-N-[3H]-glucosamine. The specificity of radioisotope incorporation was assessed by in vitro inhibition with tunicamycin and carbohydrate extraction with endo-glyc...
Article
The embryonic yolk sac and the adult dorsal vessel of the stick insect Carausius morosus (Br.) (Phasmatodea : Heteronemiidae) were shown to release a number of cells that appear morphologically similar to circulating adult hemocytes. Like adult hemocytes, these cells reacted positively when tested for both phenoloxidase activity and a monoclonal an...
Article
During embryonic development, insect vitellins (Vt) are degraded by limited proteolysis to yield a number of lower-molecular weight polypeptides. The aim of the present study was to identify these polypeptides in the embryo and to verify how they relate to Vt polypeptides deposited in the oocyte during vitellogenesis. To this end a panel of poly- a...
Article
With the onset of vitellogenesis, the follicular epithelium overlying the oocyte in stick insect ovarioles becomes highly polarized and patent by formation of wide intercellular spaces. The aim of the present study was to provide experimental support to the notion that the follicular epithelium in this insect species may be involved in transcytosis...
Article
Ovarian follicles of the stick insect Carausius morosus were analyzed by confocal laser microscopy and immunocytochemistry with a view to studying cell polarity in the follicular epithelium. Such probes as anti-&#33-tubulin antibodies and Rh-phalloidin were employed to establish how the follicle cell cytoskeleton changes during ovarian development....
Article
The nasal bot fly, Oestrus ovis, was investigated to establish which specific cuticular component is most immunogenic to infested sheep and how larval cuticle attains a protective role, if any, against the host immune system. To accomplish these goals, larval cuticle was extracted by a variety of agents and tested against immune sera from infested...
Article
Differentiation of the yolk sac was examined ultrastructurally and cytochemically in late embryonic development of the stick insect Carausius morosus. During migration along the yolk sac, endodermal cells form a discontinuous cell epithelium, leaving wide intercellular channels between neighbouring cell clusters. Within the same cell cluster, cells...
Article
Proteolytic processing of vitellin in Blattella germanica embryos is accomplished by activation of a yolk-borne cysteine protease (Mr 29 000) derived from a pro-protease precursor of Mr 40 000 (Liu et al., 1997). In the present study, fat body, ovaries and embryos of different developmental stages were examined immuno-cytochemically with purified m...
Article
Vitellins from ovarian follicles and newly laid eggs of the stick insect Carausius morosus were examined by ion exchange chromatography on a HPLC Mono Q column. Under these conditions, vitellins from newly laid eggs resolved as two distinct peaks, referred to as VtA and VtB, that eluted at 8.5 and 12.0 min, respectively. On native gels, both VtA an...
Article
Tissue extracts from larval instars of the sheep nasal bot, Oestrus ovis, were resolved by gel electrophoresis under both native and denaturing conditions. Polypeptides resolved under these conditions were tested by immunoblotting against sera of infested sheep. Of all tissues examined in this study, salivary glands proved to be major immunogens in...
Article
The use of collagen in clinical surgery entails the preparation of products of high purity grade. Because of the nature of the extracellular matrix and considering the procedure employed to extract collagen from biological tissues, the presence of such proteins as albumin, fibrinogen and fibronectin cannot be ruled out from the extraction product u...
Article
Flow cytometry has been employed to study NK cell cytotoxic activity in cats infected with feline immunodeficiency virus. The results show that animals infected for 12 months or more have decreased levels of NK cell cytotoxic activity in their blood. The impairment could not be overcome by in vitro treatment of effector cells with interleukin 2. Ad...
Article
A monoclonal antibody raised against ovarian follicles of the stick insect Carausius morosus reacted with two related polypeptides of 157 and 85 kDa in both the ovary and the hemolymph. In vitro cultured fat body proved capable of releasing the 157-kDa polypeptide into the culture medium and processing it to the lower-molecular-weight polypeptide o...
Article
Effects of allatectomy on vitellogenesis in adult Carausius morosus Br. were examined using rocket immunoelectrophoresis, polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, fluorographic identification and quantitation by liquid scintillation of in vivo35S-methionine-labeled proteins, and light microscope autoradiography. In normal adults and in adults allatectom...
Article
Oocytes and embryos of the cockroach Blattella germanica were examined by optical and electron microscopy to study yolk granule degradation during embryo development. During vitellogenesis, progressively larger yolk granules are formed in the ooplasm and by chorionogenesis, the mature granules are packed so tightly that their shape is highly distor...
Article
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The oviduct of the stick insect Carausius morosus was examined ultrastructurally with a view to studying the secretory activity of the oviductal epithelium. Data presented in this study show that the oviduct in stick insects consists of a monolayered epithelium of columnar cells. On the luminal side, these cells are bordered by large clumps of secr...
Article
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The macronuclear chromatin of the ciliate Blepharisma japonicum was studied by electrophoretic and immunological techniques as well as by micrococcal nuclease digestion and circular dichroism spectroscopy. Under these experimental conditions the macronuclear chromatin of B. japonicum was compared to that of Tetrahymena pyriformis. Data obtained thr...
Article
Ovarian growth in stick insects (Phasmatodea) was examined ultrastructurally and cytochemically with a view to studying: (1) the kinetics of oocyte growth and the staging characteristics of ovarian follicles undergoing vitellogenesis; (2) the endocytic capability of the growing oocyte, including the post-endocytic fate of the vitellins sequestered...
Article
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Drosophila ovarian follicles were examined ultrastructurally to study the vesicular traffic in the cortical ooplasm. The endocytic pathway leading to the production of yolk spheres was visualized following in vivo or in vitro exposure to peroxidase. The Golgi apparatus and the yolk spheres of wild-type ovarian follicles were preferentially labelled...
Article
Newly laid eggs of the stick insect Carausius morosus contain two native vitellins (Vit A and Vit B). Under denaturing conditions, these vitellins resolved into 3 (A1, A2, and A3) and 2 (B1 and B2) polypeptides. All of these polypeptides had counterparts in the female hemolymph from which they were shown to be derived by in vivo labelling. During o...
Article
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The fat body of the female stick insect, Bacillus rossius (Rossi), was examined ultrastructurally in developing larvae. Two different fat body tissues are present in first instar larvae: A remnant of an embryonic tissue, and a newly differentiated tissue appearing only after hatching, the larval fat body. The embryonic fat body consists of large ce...
Article
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Ovaries from 24h liver-fed female flies of Phormia regina were exposed to various extracellular tracers either in vivo or in vitro to gain insight on how hemolymph proteins may enter terminal follicles. Ruthenium red and lanthanum nitrate administered to aldehyde-fixed ovaries permeated the intercellular spaces of the follicular epithelium to some...
Article
1.1. Adult females of the stick insect Carausius morosus were injected with either [35S]methionine or [3H]leucine and eggs laid during the following 2 weeks collected for further analysis.2.2. After the injection, radioactivity started to appear in newly laid eggs with a time-lag of 9 days, reached a maximum incorporation on day 10 and then levelle...
Article
The present study was aimed at verifying if the freeze-drying process has any effect on the polypeptide composition of the collagen extracted from bovine Achilles tendon in an acetic acid gelified form. Data from our laboratories showed that the freeze-drying process ren