• Genomic and functional insights into the interactions between vaginal Lactobacillus strains and pathogens
  • Costantini, Paolo Emidio <1990>


  • BIO/19 Microbiologia


  • The vaginal microbiota of healthy pre-menopausal women is typically dominated by one Lactobacillus species among L. crispatus, L. gasseri, L. jensenii and L. iners. Thanks to a series of antimicrobial activities, strains belonging to these species represent the first barrier against infections and maintain niche homeostasis. On the other hands, the increase abundance in pathogen species is associated with the onset of numerous diseases, leading also to an increase risk of other infections acquisition. The deciphering of factors which influence Lactobacillus survival, as well as the interactions between lactobacilli-pathogens and pathogens-pathogens represent an important topic of study for improving woman health and investigating effective probiotic strategies. Here, we investigated environmental factors and genetic traits that lead to the dominance of either L. crispatus or L. gasseri in the vaginal niche and the possible applications of liposomes loaded with L. gasseri biosurfactants for the treatment and prevention of Staphylococcus aureus biofilm infections. Furthermore, considering the increasing relevance acquired by bacterial extracellular vesicles (EVs) we analysed the role of EVs derived from vaginal lactobacilli and pathogens on both bacterial growth and HIV-1 infections. As a result, we reported for the first time i) common and species-specific genotypic and phenotypic features of L. crispatus and L. gasseri ii) significant antibiofilm activity of liposomes loading vaginal Lactobacillus biosurfactants against multi-drug resistant S. aureus strains iii) absence of growth regulation mediated by EVs derived from lactobacilli on pathogen cultures and vice versa iv) anti-HIV-1 activity of protein derived from L. gasseri EVs and unexpected antiviral effect of pathogen-derived EVs on HIV-1 infections in vitro. In conclusion, this PhD thesis explored characteristics and possible applications of vaginal lactobacilli for the human health, as well as promising antiviral effects of both lactobacilli and pathogen derived EVs.


  • 2021-03-18


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Costantini, Paolo Emidio (2021) Genomic and functional insights into the interactions between vaginal Lactobacillus strains and pathogens, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Biologia cellulare e molecolare , 33 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/9615.