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Restani Laura

Research scientist
Via Giuseppe Moruzzi, 1
56124 - Pisa
Tel 050-3153199
Fax 0503153220
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My research activity is focused on two main topics:
• the role of activity in cortex development and plasticity
• the mechanisms of action of clostridial neurotoxins
These two topics are closely linked and complementary as we use a series of experiments to exploit bacterial toxins to investigate the role of activity in central nervous system physiology and disease.

The studies on the central nervous system have been carried out using the visual system as model, given its well-known connectivity network and physiology. My research investigates in particular the role of interhemispheric connections in physiology and pathology. In addition, we took advantage of an experimental model of focal neocortical epilepsy to investigate circuit modifications occurring in hyper-excitable networks.

In parallel, we examined in depth mechanisms of actions of botulinum neurotoxins. Specifically, we investigate trafficking of botulinum neurotoxin type A (BoNT/A) and its relationship with central effects occurring in the spinal cord following peripheral delivery in hindlimb muscles.

Main experimental techniques used are in vivo electrophysiology, behavioral tests, anatomical and biochemical analyses (immunohistochemistry, microscopy, imaging).

Research’s Topics

Visual system physiology and plasticity
Synaptic activity (physiological vs pathological)
Clostridial Neurotoxins


Representative publications

Vannini E, Restani L*, Pietrasanta M, Panarese A, Mazzoni A, Rossetto O, Middei S., Micera S and Caleo M (2015)
Altered sensory processing and dendritic remodeling in hyperexcitable visual cortical networks
Brain Struct Funct. 2015 Jul 12. [Epub ahead of print] * corresponding author. PMID: 26163822

Restani L, Giribaldi F, Manich M, Bercsenyi K, Menendez G, Rossetto O, Caleo M, Schiavo G (2012)

Botulinum Neurotoxins A and E Undergo Retrograde Axonal Transport in Primary Motor Neurons. PLoS Pathog 8(12): e1003087. PMID: 23300443

Restani L, Antonucci F, Gianfranceschi L, Rossi C, Rossetto O, Caleo M (2011)
Evidence for anterograde transport and transcytosis of botulinum neurotoxin A (BoNT/A). J Neurosci 31(44): 15650-15659. PMID: 22049408

Restani L, Cerri C, Pietrasanta M, Gianfranceschi L, Maffei L, Caleo M (2009)

Functional masking of deprived eye responses by callosal input during ocular dominance plasticity. Neuron 64(5): 707-718. PMID: 20005826

Caleo M*, Restani L*, Gianfranceschi L*, Costantin L, Rossi C, Rossetto O, Montecucco C, Maffei L (2007)
Transient synaptic silencing of developing striate cortex has persistent effects on visual function and plasticity. J Neurosci 27:4530-4540. * equal contribution. PMID: 17460066