Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Unit (Prof. Carla Emiliani)

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Research Area: 

Biochemical, molecular biology and nanotechnology approaches for investigating the endosomal-lysosomal-autophagic system in health, aging and neurodegenerative diseases and developing innovative therapeutic strategies; (ii) identification of risk and protective factors for the prevention of chronic-degenerative diseases.

Scientific categories: Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Hygiene.

Main Topics

Endosomal-lysosomal system characterization and function
Lysosomal enzymes expression, intracellular trafficking, secretion, sub-cellular localization in normal and pathological conditions.
Involvement of the endosomal-lysosomal system in aging, neurodegenerative disorders and cancer.
Purification and characterization of exosomes from different human cell types and body fluids.
Role of autophagic-lysosomal pathway in the pathogenesis of neuronal damage and evaluation of neuroprotective effect of mTOR inhibitors treatment.

Regenerative and translational medicine
Development of enzyme /gene/stem cell-replacement therapeutic strategies for lysosomal metabolic disorders with neurological involvement.
Generation of biohybrid tissue/organ by using stem cells and biomaterials for regenerative medicine application.
Diseases modeling by using patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells.

Nanobiotechnology applications
Nanocomposite biomaterials for tissue regeneration.
Functionalized biodegradable nanoparticles for drug delivery.
Nanobiosensors for diagnostic applications.
Mechanotransduction: identification of molecular signals generated by the mechanical properties of biomaterials that induce specific stem cell response (e.g. self-renewal, differentiation, reprogramming, epigenetic modifications).

Metabolism of phopholipids
Biochemical studies of the phospholipidic metabolism in different cellular pathways (e.g. signal transduction and apoptosis) and in pathological conditions (e.g. drug induced phospholipidosis).

Production of recombinant proteins
Production of recombinant proteins for biomedical, bioremediation and green energy applications.

Molecular basis of Toxoplasma gondii reactivation
Study of the molecular basis of the reactivation of Toxoplasma gondii tissue cysts and development of new therapeutic strategies for Toxoplasma chronic infection by using lysosomal protease inhibitors.

Prevention of chronic-degenerative diseases
Study of Mediterranean diet components, environmental pollutants and genetic susceptibility effects on the molecular mechanisms (e.g. DNA damage, gene expression, oxidative stress, apoptosis, proliferation, inflammation) responsible for the onset of chronic-degenerative disease.

Healthy aging
Identification of  molecular, behavioural, nutritional, clinical, social and environmental cues in healthy and active aging to target different risk factors for dementia, and reliable prognostic and intervention monitoring tools.

Members: 

Carla Emiliani - Full professor - COORDINATOR
Roberto Fabiani - Associate professor
Sandra Buratta - Researcher
Manlio Di Cristina - Researcher
Alessandro Magini - Researcher
Sabata Martino - Researcher
Patrizia Rosignoli - Researcher
Brunella Tancini Researcher
Lorena Urbanelli Graduate technician
Antonella Cardinali - Technician
Maria Pia Chiuchiù - Technician
Flavia Passeri - Technician
Raffaela Fuccelli - Post-doc
Alice Polchi - Post-doc
Maria Vittoria Sepporta - Post-doc
Giuseppina Ferrara - Fellow
Krizia Sagini - Fellow
Elena Tinelli - Fellow
Ilaria Bicchi - PhD student
Francesco Morena - PhD student

Collaborators: 

Adam Mickiewicz University, NanoBioMedical Centre, Poznan: Prof. S. Jurga, Prof. A. Patkowsky,
Kuleven University, Leuven: Prof. M. Samapolesi
University of Michigan, USA: Prof. V.B. Carruthers
University Marburg: Prof. A. Hasilik,
Universitè René Descartes, Paris: Prof. M. J. Foglietti, Dr. M. Bernard
INSERM U845, Université Paris Descartes, Paris: Dr. Catherine Caillaud
University of Sevilla, Departamento de Química Orgánica, Facultad de Química, Spain: José G. Fernández-Bolaños
University of Perugia: Prof. P. Mecocci, Dr. S. Giovagnoli, Prof. D. Fioretto, Dr. S. Corezzi, Prof. G. Cardinali, Dr. L. Corte, Prof. M.J. Kenny, Prof. R. Calafiore, Prof. G. Muzi, Dr. G. Gambelunghe, Prof. G.Cruciani, Dr. L.Goracci.
University of Milan: Prof. S. Sonnino, Prof. V. Chigorno,  A. Prinetti
University “La Sapienza” Roma: Prof. M. Perluigi, Prof. F. Naro
IFO Regina Elena IRCCS-Roma: Dr. F. De Marco
University of Foggia: Dr. T. Cassano
Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Roma: Dr. S: Fais, Dr. F. Spano, Dr. MA Logozzi
University of Udine: Prof. G. Scoles, Dr. A. P. Beltrami and Dr. D. Cesselli
University of Modena and Reggio Emilia: Prof. M. A. Vandelli, Prof. F. Forni, Dr. G. Tosi
Università Politecnica delle Marche: Prof. G. Principato, Dr. T. Armeni, Dr. F. Piva
TIGET-HSR, S. Rafael Hospital, Milano: Dr. A. Gritti, Dr. A. Biffi, Prof. L. Naldini
University of Pavia: Prof. G.M. Cusella de Angelis, Prof. L. Visai
G. D’Annunzio University, Chieti: Prof. A. Di Baldassarre
Burlo Garofano Hospital, Trieste: Dr. G. M. Severini

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Selected Publications: 

Magini A, Polchi A, Tancini B, Urbanelli L, Di Cristina M, Mannucci R, Nicoletti I, Emiliani C.
Methods to discriminate the distribution of acidic glycohydrolases between the endosomal-lysosomal systems and the plasma membrane. Methods in Enzymology, in press

Costanzi E, Urbanelli L, Bellezza I, Magini A, Emiliani C, Minelli A. Hypermethylation contributes to down-regulation of lysosomal β-hexosaminidase α subunit in prostate cancer cells. Biochimie, in press

Chiricozzi E, Niemir N, Aureli M, Magini A, Loberto N, Prinetti A, Bassi R, Polchi A,Emiliani C, Caillaud C, Sonnino S. Chaperone Therapy for GM2 Gangliosidosis: Effects of Pyrimethamine on β-Hexosaminidase Activity in Sandhoff Fibroblasts. Mol Neurobiol., in press.

Corte L, Dell'abate MT, Magini A, Migliore M, Felici B, Roscini L, Sardella R, Tancini B, Emiliani C, Cardinali G, Benedetti A. Assessment of safety and efficiency of nitrogen organic fertilizers from animal-based Protein Hydrolysates - a laboratory multidisciplinary approach.
J Sci Food Agric., in press.

Tancini B, Tosi G, Bortot B, Dolcetta D, Magini A, De Martino E, Urbanelli L, Ruozi B, Forni F, Emiliani C, Vandelli MA, Severini GM Use of PLGA-nanoparticles for lysosomal delivery of a therapeutic enzyme in glycogenosis type ii fibroblasts. J. Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, in press

Galizi R, Spano F, Giubilei MA, Capuccini B, Magini A, Urbanelli L, Ogawa T, Dubey JP, Spaccapelo R, Emiliani C, Di Cristina M. Evidence of tRNA cleavage in apicomplexan parasites: Half-tRNAs as new potential regulatory molecules of Toxoplasma gondii and Plasmodium berghei. Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2013;188(2):99-108.

Brozzi A, Urbanelli L, Germain PL, Magini A, Emiliani C. hLGDB: a database of human lysosomal genes and their regulation. Database (Oxford). 2013; Apr 12; 2013:bat024. doi: 10.1093/database/bat024.

Urbanelli L, Sagini K, Polidoro M, Brozzi A, Magini A, Emiliani C. Therapeutic approaches for lysosomal storage diseases: a patent update. Recent Pat CNS Drug Discov. 2013;8(2):91-109.

Urbanelli L, Magini A, Buratta S, Brozzi A, Sagini K, Polchi A, Tancini B, Emiliani C. Signaling Pathways in Exosomes Biogenesis, Secretion and Fate. Genes 2013, 4, 152-170. Review

Magini A, Polchi A, Urbanelli L, Cesselli D, Beltrami A, Tancini B, and Emiliani C. TFEB activation promotes the recruitment of lysosomal glycohydrolases β- hexosaminidase and β-galactosidase to the plasma membrane. Biochim Biophys Res Commun. 2013; 440(2):251-7.

Morena F, di Girolamo I, Emiliani C, Gritti A, Biffi A, Martino S. A New Analytical Bench Assay For The Determination of Arylsulfatase A Activity Toward Galactosyl-3-Sulphate Ceramide: Implication for Metachromatic Leukodystrophy Diagnosis. Analytical Chemistry , in press .

Rescignano N, Fortunati E, Montesano S, Emiliani C, Kenny J, Martino S, Armentano I. PVA bio-nanocomposites: a new take-off using cellulose nanocrystals and PLGA nanoparticles.
Carbohydrate Polymers , in press.

Lorioli L, Cesani M, Regis S, Morena F, Grossi S, Fumagalli F, Acquati S, Redaelli D, Pini A, Sessa M, Martino S, Filocamo M, Biffi A. Critical issues for the proper diagnosis of Metachromatic Leukodystrophy. Gene. in press

Tiribuzi R, Crispoltoni L, Tartacca F, Martino S, Palmerini CA, Orlacchio. Nitric oxide depletion alters hematopoietic stem cell commitment toward immunogenic dendritic cells. Biochimica Biophys Acta 2013; 1830:2830-8.

Martino S, Montesano S, di Girolamo I, Tiribuzi R, Di Gregorio M, Orlacchio A, Datti A, Calabresi P, Sarchielli P, Orlacchio A. Expression of cathepsins S and D signals a distinctive biochemical trait in CD34+ hematopoietic stem cells of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis patients. Multiple Sclerorosis Jounal. 2013;11:1443-53.

Rescignano N, Tarpani L, Tiribuzi R, Montesano S, Martino S, Latterini L, Kenny JM, Armentano I. Protein Encapsulation in Biodegradable Polymeric Nanoparticles: Morphology, Fluorescence Behaviour and Stem Cell Uptake. Macromolecular Bioscience 2013;10: 1204-1212.

Bicchi I, Morena F, Montesano S, Polidoro M, Martino S. MicroRNAs and Molecular Mechanisms of Neurodegeneration. Genes 2013; 4(2), 244-263. Review

Montesano S, Lizundia E, D'Angelo F, Fortunati E, Mattioli S, Morena F, Bicchi I, Naro F, Sampaolesi M, Sarasua JR, Kenny JM, Orlacchio A, Armentano I, Martino S. Nanocomposites based on PLLA and multi walled carbon nanotubes support the myogenic differentiation of murine myoblast cell line. ISRN Tissue Engineering 2013; 25 may

Biffi A, Montini E, Lorioli L, Cesani M, Fumagalli F, Plati T, Baldoli C, Martino S, Calabria A, Canale S, Benedicenti F, Vallanti G, Biasco L, Leo S, Kabbara N, Zanetti G, Rizzo WB, Mehta NA, Cicalese MP, Casiraghi M, Boelens JJ, Del Carro U, Dow DJ, Schmidt M, Assanelli A, Neduva V, Di Serio C, Stupka E, Gardner J, von Kalle C, Bordignon C, Ciceri F, Rovelli A, Roncarolo MG, Aiuti A, Sessa M, Naldini L. Lentiviral Hematopoietic Stem Cell Gene Therapy Benefits Metachromatic Leukodystrophy. Science 2013; 341 (6148):1233158.

Martino S. Editorial [Hot Topic Stem Cells as a Tool for Biomedical Applications Guest Editor: Martino Sabata]. Recent Patents On Drug Delivery & Formulation 2013; vol. 7, p. 3.

Fuccelli R, Sepporta MV, Rosignoli P, Morozzi G, Servili M, Fabiani R. Preventive activity of olive oil phenolic compounds on alkene epoxides induced oxidative DNA damage on human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Nutr. Cancer, in press

Rosignoli P, Sepporta MV, Fuccelli R and Fabiani R. Chemopreventive activities of hydroxytyrosol: the major phenol alcohol of extra virgin olive oil. Nova Publischer editors book: 'Virgin olive oil, related products ans benefits for Man', in press

Sepporta MV, Mazza T, Morozzi G, Fabiani R. Pinoresinol inhibits proliferation and induces differentiation on human HL60 leukemia cells. Nutr. Cancer 2013; 65(8):1208-18.

Rosignoli P, Fuccelli R, Fabiani R, Servili M, Morozzi G. Effect of olive oil phenols on the production of inflammatory mediators in freshly isolated human monocytes. J Nutr Biochem. 2013; 24(8):1513-9.

Sepporta MV, López-García MÁ, Fabiani R, Maya I, Fernández-Bolaños JG.Enhanced chemopreventive activity of hydroxytyrosol on HL60 and HL60R cells by chemical conversion into thio derivatives. Eur J Pharm Sci. 2013 ;48(4-5):790-8.

Ferrara G, Gambelunghe A, Mozzi R, Marchetti MC, Migliorati G, Muzi G, Buratta S.
Phosphatidylserine metabolism modification precedes manganese-induced apoptosis and phosphatidylserine exposure in PC12 cells. Neurotoxicology. 2013; 39:25-34.