National Agency for the Evaluation of Universities and Research

Rome, Italy

National Agency for the Evaluation of Universities and Research

Rome, Italy
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Capanni C.,CNR Institute of Molecular Genetics | Squarzoni S.,CNR Institute of Molecular Genetics | Cenni V.,CNR Institute of Molecular Genetics | D'Apice M.R.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | And 7 more authors.
Cell Cycle | Year: 2012

Prelamin A processing impairment is a common feature of a restricted group of rare genetic alterations/disorders associated with a wide range of clinical phenotypes. Changes in histone posttranslational modifications, alterations in non-histone chromatin proteins and chromatin disorganization have been specifically linked to impairment of specific, distinct prelamin A processing steps, but the molecular mechanism involved in these processes is not yet understood . In this study, we show that the accumulation of wild-type prelamin A detected in restrictive dermopathy (RD), as well as the accumulation of mutated forms of prelamin A identified in familial partial lipodystrophy (FPLD) and mandibuloacral dysplasia (MADA), affect the nuclear localization of barrier-to-autointegration factor (BAF), a protein able to link lamin A precursor to chromatin remodeling functions. Our findings, in accordance with previously described results, support the hypothesis of a prelamin A involvement in BAF nuclear recruitment and suggest BAF-prelamin A complex as a protein platform usually activated in prelamin A-accumulating diseases. Finally, we demonstrate the involvement of the inner nuclear membrane protein emerin in the proper localization of BAF-prelamin A complex. © 2012 Landes Bioscience.


Cenni V.,National Research Council Italy | Capanni C.,National Research Council Italy | Columbaro M.,Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute | Ortolani M.,National Research Council Italy | And 9 more authors.
European Journal of Histochemistry | Year: 2011

Farnesylated prelamin A is a processing intermediate produced in the lamin A maturation pathway. Accumulation of a truncated farnesylated prelamin A form, called progerin, is a hallmark of the severe premature ageing syndrome, Hutchinson-Gilford progeria. Progerin elicits toxic effects in cells, leading to chromatin damage and cellular senescence and ultimately causes skin and endothelial defects, bone resorption, lipodystrophy and accelerated ageing. Knowledge of the mechanism underlying prelamin A turnover is critical for the development of clinically effective protein inhibitors that can avoid accumulation to toxic levels without impairing lamin A/C expression, which is essential for normal biological functions. Little is known about specific molecules that may target farnesylated prelamin A to elicit protein degradation. Here, we report the discovery of rapamycin as a novel inhibitor of progerin, which dramatically and selectively decreases protein levels through a mechanism involving autophagic degradation. Rapamycin treatment of progeria cells lowers progerin, as well as wild-type prelamin A levels, and rescues the chromatin phenotype of cultured fibroblasts including histone methylation status and BAF and LAP2α distribution patterns. Importantly, rapamycin treatment does not affect lamin C protein levels, but increases the relative expression of the prelamin A endoprotease ZMPSTE24. Thus, rapamycin, an antibiotic belonging to the class of macrolides, previously found to increase longevity in mouse models, can serve as a therapeutic tool, to eliminate progerin, avoid farnesylated prelamin A accumulation, and restore chromatin dynamics in progeroid laminopathies. © V. Cenni et al., 2011.


Predazzi I.M.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Predazzi I.M.,Vanderbilt University | Norata G.D.,Center for the Study of Atherosclerosis | Norata G.D.,University of Milan | And 11 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Background and Purpose: The lectin-like oxidised LDL receptor-1 (OLR1) gene encodes a scavenger receptor implicated in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Although functional roles have been suggested for two variants, epidemiological studies on OLR1 have been inconsistent. Methods - We tested the association between the non-synonymous substitution K167N (rs11053646) and intima media thickness of the common carotid artery (CCA-IMT) in 2,141 samples from the Progression of Lesions in the Intima of the Carotid (PLIC) study (a prospective population-based study). Results: Significantly increased IMT was observed in male carriers of the minor C (N) allele compared to GC and GG (KN and KK) genotype. Functional analysis on macrophages suggested a decreased association to Ox-LDL in NN carriers compared to KN and KK carriers which is also associated with a reduced OLR1 mRNA expression. Macrophages from NN carriers present also a specific inflammatory gene expression pattern compared to cells from KN and KK carriers. Conclusions: These data suggest that the 167N variant of LOX-1 receptor affects the atherogenic process in the carotid artery prior to evidence of disease through an inflammatory process. © 2012 Predazzi et al.


Minella D.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Wannenes F.,National Research Council Italy | Biancolella M.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Biancolella M.,University of Southern California | And 11 more authors.
Journal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents | Year: 2011

Hirsutism is the development of androgen-dependent terminal body hair in women in places in which terminal hair are normally not found. It is often associated with hyperandrogenemia and/or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), but the existence of uncommom hirsutism forms that are not related to altered androgen plasma levels lead also to the definition of "idiopathic hirsutism". Although the pathophysiology of hirsutism has been linked to increasing 5-alpha reductase (SRD5A) activity and to an alteration of the androgen receptor (AR) transcriptional machinery, many aspects remain unclear. In particular, the relationships between androgens and local factors are poorly understood. In the present paper, we selected for a genital skin biopsy, 8 women affected with severe hirsutism (Ferriman-Gallway score >25) but with normal plasma androgen levels, with the exception of slightly higher serum 3α-diol-glucuronide levels, and 6 healthy controls and analyzed their androgen- and insulin-specific transcriptional profile using a specific custom low density microarray (AndroChip 2, GPL9164). We identified the over-expression of the Son of Sevenless-1 (SOS1) gene in all of the hirsute skin fibroblast primary cell cultures compared to control healthy women. Since SOS1 is a guanine nucleotide exchange factor that couples receptor tyrosine kinases to the RAS signaling pathway that controls cell proliferation and differentiation, we further analyzed SOS1 expression, protein level and RAS signaling activation pathway in an in vitro model (NHDF, normal human dermal fibroblast cell line). NHDF treated for 24 h with different concentrations of DHT and T showed an increase in SOS1 levels (both mRNA and protein) and also an activation of the RAS pathway. Our in vivo and in vitro data represent a novel preliminary observation that factors activating SOS1 could act as local proliferative modulators linked to the androgen pathway in the pilosebaceous unit. SOS1 over-expression may play a role in the regulation of the RAS/mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway in the skin, in the hair follicle proliferation and cell cycle, suggesting new perspectives in understanding the pathogenesis of idiopathic hirsutism. Copyright © by BIOLIFE s.a.s.


Vecchione L.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Diano L.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Campagnolo L.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Rocchi L.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | And 6 more authors.
Gene | Year: 2012

LOX-1 (Lectin-like oxidized low-density lipoprotein receptor-1) is the primary endothelial receptor of oxidized LDL (oxLDL). Both in vitro and in vivo experiments have shown this protein to be important in the initiation of atherosclerosis and to be up-regulated by pro-atherogenic factors. Recently, it has been demonstrated that Olr1, the gene encoding Lox-1, is important for tumor growth and for maintaining the transformed state in different cancer cell lines, suggesting that it acts in a molecular pathway connecting cancer and atherosclerosis. Both diseases in humans are characterized by uncontrolled regulation of cellular growth and differentiation.We present evidence that Olr1 is expressed during mouse embryogenesis in developmental stages (from 7.5 to 9.5. dpc) in which cardiogenesis occurs. In addition, we identify two novel Olr1 isoform (hereafter referred to as D3D5Olr1 and D2D5Olr1) whose spatio-temporal expression pattern overlaps with Olr1 in vivo. In vitro, D3D5Olr1 localizes to the cell surface membrane as Olr1, in contrast with D2D5Olr1; these data suggest that D2D5Olr1 isoform translates a receptor that does not reach the plasma membrane. Accordingly, in silico transmembrane protein topology prediction analyses, show that D2D5Olr1 does not contain any transmembrane region. Finally, both isoforms can activate the same genetic pathways underlying Olr1 expression, such as, hypoxia and inflammation, even if with a different efficiency.All these data suggest a new functional involvement of Olr1, and probably of its spliceforms, in murine cardiogenesis and angiogenesis. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.


Matarazzo S.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Quitadamo M.C.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Mango R.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Ciccone S.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | And 3 more authors.
Molecular Pharmacology | Year: 2012

Lectin-like oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LOX-1), the primary receptor for oxidized low-density lipoprotein (ox-LDL) in endothelial cells, is up-regulated in atherosclerotic lesions. Statins are the principal therapeutic agents for cardiovascular diseases and are known to down-regulate LOX-1 expression. Whether the effect on the LOX-1 receptor is related to statin-mediated cholesterol-lowering activity is unknown. We investigate the requirement of cholesterol for LOX-1-mediated lipid particle internalization, trafficking, and processing and the role of statins as inhibitors of LOX-1 function. Disruption of cholesterol-rich membrane microdomains by acute exposure of cells to methyl-β-cyclodextrin or chronic exposure to different statins (lovastatin and atorvastatin) led to a spatial disorganization of LOX-1 in plasma membranes and a marked loss of specific LOX-1 function in terms of ox-LDL binding and internalization. Subcellular fractionation and immunochemical studies indicate that LOX-1 is naturally present in caveolae-enriched lipid rafts and, by cholesterol reduction, the amount of LOX-1 in this fraction is highly decreased (≥60%). In contrast, isoprenylation inhibition had no effect on the distribution and function of LOX-1 receptors. Furthermore, in primary cultures from atherosclerotic human aorta lesions, we confirm the presence of LOX-1 in caveolae-enriched lipid rafts and demonstrate that lovastatin treatment led to down-regulation of LOX-1 in lipid rafts and rescue of the ox-LDL-induced apoptotic phenotype. Taken together, our data reveal a previously unrecognized essential role of membrane cholesterol for LOX-1 receptor activity and suggest that statins protect vascular endothelium against the adverse effect of ox-LDL by disruption of membrane rafts and impairment of LOX-1 receptor function. Copyright © 2012 The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.


Ciccacci C.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Di Fusco D.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Cacciotti L.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Morganti R.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | And 6 more authors.
Acta Diabetologica | Year: 2013

Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is a complex disease resulting from the contribution of both environmental and genetic factors. Recently, the list of genes implicated in the susceptibility to T2DM has substantially grown, also as a consequence of the great development of the genome-wide association studies in the last decade. Common polymorphisms in TCF7L2 gene have shown to have a strong effect with respect to many other involved genes. The aims of our study were to confirm the role of TCF7L2 in the susceptibility to T2DM in the Italian population and to investigate whether TCF7L2 genotypes also contribute to the clinical phenotypes variability and to diabetic complications development. Three TCF7L2 polymorphisms (rs7903146, rs7901695 and rs12255372) have been analyzed by allelic discrimination assays in a cohort of 154 Italian patients with T2DM and 171 healthy controls. A case-control association study and a genotype-phenotype correlation study have been carried out. Consistent with previous studies, all three SNPs showed a strong association with susceptibility to T2DM, both at genotypic (P = 0.003, P = 0.004 and P = 0.012) and at allelic level (P = 0.0004, P = 0.0004 and P = 0.003). Moreover, we observed associations between TCF7L2 variants and the following diabetic complications: diabetic retinopathy, cardiovascular disease and coronary artery disease. We also found a strong correlation between the rs7903146 and the presence of cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy (P = 0.02 with a high OR = 8.28). In conclusion, our study, in addition to confirming the involvement of TCF7L2 gene in the T2DM susceptibility, has shown that TCF7L2 genetic variability also contributes to the development of diabetic complications such as retinopathy and cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.


Ciccacci C.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Biancone L.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Di Fusco D.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Ranieri M.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | And 8 more authors.
Journal of Crohn's and Colitis | Year: 2013

Background and aims: Genome-wide association (GWA) studies recently identified a novel gene, TRAF3IP2, involved in the susceptibility to psoriasis. Common immune-mediated mechanisms involving the skin or the gut have been suggested. We therefore aimed to assess the role of TRAF3IP2 gene in IBD, with particular regard to the development of cutaneous extraintestinal manifestations (pyoderma gangrenosum, erythema nodosum). The association with psoriasis was also assessed in a secondary analysis. Methods: The analysis included 267 Crohn's disease (CD), 200 ulcerative colitis (UC) patients and 278 healthy controls. Three TRAF3IP2 SNPs were genotyped by allelic discrimination assays. A case/control association study and a genotype/phenotype correlation analysis have been performed. Results: All three SNPs conferred a high risk to develop cutaneous manifestations in IBD. A higher risk of pyoderma gangrenosum and erythema nodosum was observed in CD patients carrying the Rs33980500 variant (OR 3.03; P=0.026)In UC, a significantly increased risk was observed for both the Rs13190932 and the Rs13196377 SNPs (OR 5.05; P=0.02 and OR 4.1; P=0.049). Moreover, association of TRAF3IP2 variants with ileal (OR = 1.92), fibrostricturing (OR = 1.91) and perianal CD (OR = 2.03) was observed. Conclusions: This is the first preliminary report indicating that TRAF3IP2 variants increase the risk of cutaneous extraintestinal manifestations in IBD suggesting that the analysis of the TRAF3IP2 variants may be useful for identifying IBD patients at risk to develop these manifestations. © 2012 European Crohn's and Colitis Organisation.

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