Prof. Alessandra Polissi

Full professor at the University of Milano

Since several years, first in industry and then in academia, my research has been devoted to the identification and validation of novel molecular targets for the development of conventional and non-conventional antibiotics against Gram-negative bacteria. In these years I have established several national and international collaborations as finding new strategies to combat antimicrobial resistance is a challenge that requires cooperation of many different and complementary disciplines.

I am very happy to be part of the BREAKthrough network and excited to work in partnership with excellent teams at the forefront of research.

Alessandra Polissi is full Professor at the University of Milano. She worked at GlaxoSmithKline as group leader before joining the University of Milano as professor. She is an author of 86 publications. Alessandra Polissi is a recognized international expert envelope biogenesis in Gram-negative bacteria. Her group identified and characterized the first three components of the Lpt molecular machine that transports lipopolysaccharide to the cell surface. More recently her research focused on understanding how bacteria coordinate the growth of the different envelope layers (outer membrane and peptidoglycan) and identified functions which become essential when the lipopolysaccharide layer is disrupted thus revealing novel mechanisms affecting envelope stability that could be targeted to develop novel antibacterials.

  • Peters K, Pazos M, Hugonnet J-M, Martorana AM, Polissi A, VanNieuwenhze MS, Arthur M, Vollmer W. (2018) Copper inhibits peptidoglycan LD-transpeptidases suppressing β-lactam resistance due to by-pass of Penicillin-binding proteins. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 115:10786-10791


  • Morè N, Martorana AM, Biboy J, Otten C, Winkle M, Montón Silva A, Gurnani SCK, Atkinson L, Yau H, Breukink E, den Blaauwen T, Vollmer W, Polissi (2019) Peptidoglycan remodeling enables E. coli to survive severe outer membrane assembly defect. mBio pii: e02729-18


  • Moura ECCM, Baeta T, Romanelli A, Laguri C, Martorana AM, Erba E, Simorre JP, Sperandeo P, Polissi A. (2020) Thanatin Impairs Lipopolysaccharide Transport Complex Assembly by Targeting LptC-LptA Interaction and Decreasing LptA Stability. Front. Microbiol. 11:909


  • Gurnani SCK, Winkle M, Martorana AM, Biboy J, Morè N, Moynihan P, Banzhaf M, Vollmer W, Polissi A. (2021) ActS activates peptidoglycan amidases during outer membrane stress in Escherichia coli. Mol Microbiol. 116:329-342


  • Winkle M, Hernández-Rocamora VM, Pullela K, Goodall ECA, Martorana AM, Gray J, Henderson IR, Polissi A, Vollmer W. (2021) DpaA detaches Braun’s lipoprotein from peptidoglycan. mBio e00836-21


  • Baeta T, Giandoreggio-Barranco K, Ayala I, Moura ECCM, Sperandeo P, Polissi A, Simorre JP, Laguri C. (2021) The lipopolysaccharide-transporter complex LptB2FG also displays adenylate kinase activity in vitro dependent on the binding partners LptC/LptA. J Biol Chem. 297:101313