Publications by authors named "Dario Fortunati"

10 Publications

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Cross-linking of collagen I by tissue transglutaminase provides a promising biomaterial for promoting bone healing.

Amino Acids 2014 Jul 8;46(7):1751-61. Epub 2014 Apr 8.

School of Life and Health Sciences, Aston University, Aston Triangle, Birmingham, B4 7ET, UK.

Transglutaminases (TGs) stabilize proteins by the formation of ε(γ-glutamyl)lysine cross-links. Here, we demonstrate that the cross-linking of collagen I (COL I) by tissue transglutaminase (TG2) causes an alteration in the morphology and rheological properties of the collagen fibers. Human osteoblasts (HOB) attach, spread, proliferate, differentiate and mineralize more rapidly on this cross-linked matrix compared to native collagen. When seeded on cross-linked COL I, HOB are more resistant to the loss of cell spreading by incubation with RGD containing peptides and with α1, α2 and β1 integrin blocking antibodies. Following adhesion on cross-linked collagen, HOB show increased phosphorylation of the focal adhesion kinase, and increased expression of β1 and β3 integrins. Addition of human bone morphogenetic protein to HOB seeded on TG2 cross-linked COL I enhanced the expression of the differentiation marker bone alkaline phosphatase when compared to cross-linked collagen alone. In summary, the use of TG2-modified COL I provides a promising new scaffold for promoting bone healing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00726-014-1732-0DOI Listing
July 2014

POLD2 and KSP37 (FGFBP2) correlate strongly with histology, stage and outcome in ovarian carcinomas.

PLoS One 2010 Nov 4;5(11):e13837. Epub 2010 Nov 4.

Department of Gynaecology, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.

Background: Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) constitutes more than 90% of ovarian cancers and is associated with high mortality. EOC comprises a heterogeneous group of tumours, and the causes and molecular pathology are essentially unknown. Improved insight into the molecular characteristics of the different subgroups of EOC is urgently needed, and should eventually lead to earlier diagnosis as well as more individualized and effective treatments. Previously, we reported a limited number of mRNAs strongly upregulated in human osteosarcomas and other malignancies, and six were selected to be tested for a possible association with three subgroups of ovarian carcinomas and clinical parameters.

Methodology/principal Findings: The six selected mRNAs were quantified by RT-qPCR in biopsies from eleven poorly differentiated serous carcinomas (PDSC, stage III-IV), twelve moderately differentiated serous carcinomas (MDSC, stage III-IV) and eight clear cell carcinomas (CCC, stage I-IV) of the ovary. Superficial scrapings from six normal ovaries (SNO), as well as biopsies from three normal ovaries (BNO) and three benign ovarian cysts (BBOC) were analyzed for comparison. The gene expression level was related to the histological and clinical parameters of human ovarian carcinoma samples. One of the mRNAs, DNA polymerase delta 2 small subunit (POLD2), was increased in average 2.5- to almost 20-fold in MDSC and PDSC, respectively, paralleling the degree of dedifferentiation and concordant with a poor prognosis. Except for POLD2, the serous carcinomas showed a similar transcription profile, being clearly different from CCC. Another mRNA, Killer-specific secretory protein of 37 kDa (KSP37) showed six- to eight-fold higher levels in CCC stage I compared with the more advanced staged carcinomas, and correlated positively with an improved clinical outcome.

Conclusions/significance: We have identified two biomarkers which are markedly upregulated in two subgroups of ovarian carcinomas and are also associated with stage and outcome. The results suggest that POLD2 and KSP37 might be potential prognostic biomarkers.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0013837PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2973954PMC
November 2010

Periostin is a collagen associated bone matrix protein regulated by parathyroid hormone.

Matrix Biol 2010 Sep 21;29(7):594-601. Epub 2010 Jul 21.

Department of Biochemistry, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, PO Box 1112 Blindern, University of Oslo, N-0317 Oslo, Norway.

Periostin is a 90 kDa secreted protein, originally identified in murine osteoblast-like cells, with a distribution restricted to collagen-rich tissues and certain tumors. In this paper, we first analyzed the expression of periostin mRNA and protein in human fetal osteoblasts (hFOB) and human osteosarcoma (hOS) cell lines by RT real-time PCR and Western blot, respectively. The hFOB 1.19 and three hOS (MHM, KPDXM and Eggen) showed highly variable periostin mRNA levels and protein. Second, we showed that the expression of periostin mRNA was inversely related to the cells' abilities to differentiate and mineralize. Then, we investigated the regulation of periostin mRNA in hFOB after siRNA treatment and in mouse primary osteoblasts (mOB) treated with PTH. Knock-down of periostin mRNA, down-regulated PTHrP, but did not affect the expression of other important markers of differentiation such as RUNX2. In addition, periostin mRNA was transiently up-regulated in osteoblasts by PTH. Finally, the localization of periostin and its partially co-localization with collagen 1a1 mRNA and protein was studied in mouse embryos and postnatal pups using in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry, respectively. In conclusion, the present study provides novel observations related to the expression, distribution and regulation of periostin in bone cells and extracellular matrix.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.matbio.2010.07.001DOI Listing
September 2010

Calmodulin-dependent kinase 1beta is expressed in the epiphyseal growth plate and regulates proliferation of mouse calvarial osteoblasts in vitro.

Bone 2008 Oct 20;43(4):700-7. Epub 2008 Jun 20.

Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Department of Biochemistry, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.

The Ca(2+)/Calmodulin-dependent protein kinase (CaMK) family is activated in response to elevation of intracellular Ca(2+), and includes CaMK1 (as well as CaMK2 and CaMK4), which exists as different isoforms (alpha, beta, gamma and delta). CaMK1 is present in several cell types and may be involved in various cellular processes, but its role in bone is unknown. In situ hybridization was used to determine the spatial and temporal expression of CaMK1beta during endochondral bone development in mouse embryos and newborn pups. The cellular and subcellular distribution of CaMK1 was assessed by quantitative immunogold electron microscopy (EM). The role of CaMK1beta in mouse calvarial osteoblasts was investigated by using small interfering RNA (siRNA) to silence its expression, while in parallel monitoring cell proliferation and levels of skeletogenic transcripts. cRNA in situ hybridization and EM studies show that CaMK1beta is mainly located in developing long bones and vertebrae (from ED14.5 until day 10 after birth), with highest expression in epiphyseal growth plate hypertrophic chondrocytes. By RT-PCR, we show that CaMK1beta2 (but not beta1) is expressed in mouse hind limbs (in vivo) and mouse calvarial osteoblasts (in vitro), and also in primary human articular chondrocyte cultures. Silencing of CaMK1beta in mouse calvarial osteoblasts by siRNA significantly decreases osteoblast proliferation and c-Fos gene expression (approx. 50%), without affecting skeletogenic markers for more differentiated osteoblasts (i.e. Cbfa1/Runx2, Osterix (Osx), Osteocalcin (Oc), Alkaline phosphatase (Alp) and Osteopontin (Opn)). These results identify CaMK1beta as a novel regulator of osteoblast proliferation, via mechanisms that may at least in part involve c-Fos, thus implicating CaMK1beta in the regulation of bone and cartilage development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bone.2008.06.006DOI Listing
October 2008

Osteopenia, decreased bone formation and impaired osteoblast development in Sox4 heterozygous mice.

J Cell Sci 2007 Aug 24;120(Pt 16):2785-95. Epub 2007 Jul 24.

Department of Biochemistry, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo, N-0317 Oslo, Norway.

The transcription factor Sox4 is vital for fetal development, as Sox4(-/-) homozygotes die in utero. Sox4 mRNA is expressed in the early embryonic growth plate and is regulated by parathyroid hormone, but its function in bone modeling/remodeling is unknown. We report that Sox4(+/-) mice exhibit significantly lower bone mass (by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) from an early age, and fail to obtain the peak bone mass of wild-type (WT) animals. Microcomputed tomography (muCT), histomorphometry and biomechanical testing of Sox4(+/-) bones show reduced trabecular and cortical thickness, growth plate width, ultimate force and stiffness compared with WT. Bone formation rate (BFR) in 3-month-old Sox4(+/-) mice is 64% lower than in WT. Primary calvarial osteoblasts from Sox4(+/-) mice demonstrate markedly inhibited proliferation, differentiation and mineralization. In these cultures, osterix (Osx) and osteocalcin (OCN) mRNA expression was reduced, whereas Runx2 mRNA was unaffected. No functional defects were found in osteoclasts. Silencing of Sox4 by siRNA in WT osteoblasts replicated the defects observed in Sox4(+/-) cells. We demonstrate inhibited formation and altered microarchitecture of bone in Sox4(+/-) mice versus WT, without apparent defects in bone resorption. Our results implicate the transcription factor Sox4 in regulation of bone formation, by acting upstream of Osx and independent of Runx2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/jcs.003855DOI Listing
August 2007

Modulation of human estrogen receptor alpha F promoter by a protein kinase C/c-Src-dependent mechanism in osteoblast-like cells.

J Mol Endocrinol 2006 Dec;37(3):489-502

Department of Experimental Medicine, University of L'Aquila, via Vetoio Coppito 2, 67100 L'Aquila, Italy.

The human estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha) gene is driven by multiple promoters, of which the F promoter alone is found to be active in primary osteoblasts. The study was aimed at identifying new regulatory pathways affecting transcription of the receptor in this cell lineage. We generated human osteoblast-like cells, Saos-2, stably transfected with a luciferase-reporter gene downstream of the human ERalpha F promoter (Saos F-Luc), and assayed the reporter response to differentiation-related signals. Over-confluence, shown to stimulate osteoblast differentiation, caused a time-dependent increase of F-promoter activity and correlated with an inactivation of protein kinase C alpha (PKCalpha ). PKC downregulation, obtained by long-term treatment with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA), resulted in promoter stimulation at similar levels in sub-confluent cells. The F promoter contains a putative PMA-responsive AP-1 site, but AP-1 activation was unremarkable in over-confluent cells. Treatment with PP1, a specific inhibitor of the non-receptor tyrosine-kinase c-Src, which is a negative regulator of osteoblast differentiation, showed that the activity of this kinase inhibits the F promoter. In PP1-treated cells, F-promoter activity was not further increased by PMA. Treatment with the generic kinase inhibitor 4-dimethylaminopyridine (DMAP) resulted in a dose-dependent induction of the promoter, which matched a parallel decrease of active c-Src. The effect was c-Src dependent, as DMAP caused no further promoter induction in PP1-treated cells. Overexpression of exogenous human ERalpha resulted in modest promoter stimulation, which required the ligand-independent activator function 1 of the receptor. In murine primary osteoblasts, additional ERalpha signal was observed upon induction of F promoter. In conclusion, we demonstrated a robust PKC/c-Src-dependent and estrogen-independent mechanism modulating transcription of ERalpha in osteoblasts, probably affecting estrogen responsiveness during cell differentiation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1677/jme.1.02055DOI Listing
December 2006

Inhibition of protein kinase c-Src reduces the incidence of breast cancer metastases and increases survival in mice: implications for therapy.

J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2006 Jul 20;318(1):161-72. Epub 2006 Apr 20.

Department of Experimental Medicine, Via Vetoio-Coppito 2, 67100 L'Aquila, Italy.

c-Src is a proto-oncogene, belonging to the nonreceptor protein kinases family, which plays a prominent role in carcinogenesis. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that c-Src could promote breast cancer metastasis acting on several cell types and that pharmacological disruption of its kinase activity could be beneficial for the treatment of metastases. Female BALB/c-nu/nu mice were subjected to intracardiac injection of the human breast cancer cells MDA-MB-231 (MDA-231), which induced prominent bone and visceral metastases. These were pharmacologically reduced by treatment with the c-Src inhibitor [7-{4-[2-(2-methoxy-ethylamino-ethoxy]-phenyl}-5-(3-methoxy-phenyl)-7H-pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidin-4-ylamine] CGP76030 (100 mg/kg/day p.o.), resulting in decreased morbidity and lethality. Metastases were more severe in mice injected with MDA-231 cells stably transfected with wild-type c-Src (MDA-231-SrcWT), whereas transfection in injected cells of a c-Src kinase-dead dominant-negative construct (MDA-231-SrcDN) resulted in reduced morbidity, lethality, and incidence of metastases similar to the mice treated with the inhibitor. An analogous beneficial effect of c-Src inhibition was observed in subcutaneous and intratibial implanted tumors. In vitro, c-Src suppression reduced MDA-231 cell aggressiveness. It also impaired osteoclast bone resorption both directly and by reducing expression by osteoblasts of the osteoclastogenic cytokines interleukin-1beta and interleukin-6, whereas parathyroid hormone-related peptide was not implicated. c-Src was also modestly but consistently involved in the enhancement of endothelial cell proliferation in vitro and angiogenesis in vivo. In conclusion, we propose that c-Src disruption affects the metastatic process and thus is a therapeutic target for the treatment of breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/jpet.106.102004DOI Listing
July 2006

Imbalance of osteoclastogenesis-regulating factors in patients with celiac disease.

J Bone Miner Res 2004 Jul 22;19(7):1112-21. Epub 2004 Mar 22.

Istituto Dermopatico dell'Immacolata, Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, Roma, Italy.

Unlabelled: Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder characterized by atrophy of the intestine villi triggered by ingestion of gluten in genetically susceptible individuals. The association between celiac disease and low BMD has been recognized, but the mechanisms of disturbance are poorly understood. We show imbalance of cytokines relevant to bone metabolism in celiac patients' sera and the direct effect of these sera on in vitro bone cell activity.

Introduction: Celiac disease is associated with mineral metabolism derangement and low BMD. We investigated whether imbalance of serum factors in celiac patients could affect human bone cell activity in vitro.

Materials And Methods: We studied two groups of celiac patients--one on a gluten-free diet and another before the diet--both with decreased bone mass. Patients were investigated for bone turnover markers, and their sera were used for culturing bone cells from healthy donors and evaluate changes in cell activity.

Results: The N-terminal telopeptide of procollagen type I and interleukin (IL)-6 were higher than normal in patients not on the gluten-free diet. IL-1beta and TNF-alpha/beta were normal in all patients. IL-12 was reduced in all patients, whereas IL-18 was reduced only in patients on the diet. The RANKL/osteoprotegerin (OPG) ratio was increased in patients not on the gluten-free diet. Persistently increased osteoclast numbers were obtained from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of healthy donors on incubation with sera of patients not on the gluten-free diet versus control sera and sera from patients on the diet. In human osteoblasts from healthy individuals, IL-18 was reduced on incubation with sera from all patients, whereas OPG expression was lower when sera from patients not on the diet were used. Proliferation, alkaline phosphatase, and nodule mineralization were increased in osteoblast cultures containing sera from all celiac patients, either on or not on the gluten-free diet.

Conclusions: We conclude that bone loss in celiac disease might also be caused by a cytokine imbalance directly affecting osteoclastogenesis and osteoblast activity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1359/JBMR.040319DOI Listing
July 2004

A subset of the elements of the 1731 retrotransposon family are preferentially located in regions of the Y chromosome that are polytenized in larval salivary glands of Drosophila melanogaster.

Genetica 2003 Mar;117(2-3):303-10

Centro Acidi Nucleici C.N.R., c/o Dipartimento di Genetica e Biologia Molecolare, Università La Sapienza, 00185 Roma, Italy.

It has been previously reported that the abundance and distribution of transposable elements (TEs) in Drosophila heterochromatin are conserved in unrelated stocks although they may greatly differ between families. The biases in genomic distribution of TEs are potentially informative for understanding host-transposon interactions. Here we report that in most stocks, one to four elements of the 1731 retrotransposon family are located on the Y chromosome within regions that appear to be polytenized in larval salivary glands. We discuss the hypothesis that these elements may be beneficial to the host and consider the relevance of our observations to the organization of sequences within the heterochromatin.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/a:1022920918193DOI Listing
March 2003

Evidence for the host contribution in the definition of preferential insertion sites of the elements of Bari 1 transposon family in Drosophila melanogaster.

J Mol Evol 2002 Nov;55(5):606-15

Centro per lo Studio degli Acidi Nucleici CNR, c/o Dipartimento di Genetica e Biologia Molecolare, Università La Sapienza, p.le A., Moro 5, 00185 Roma, Italy.

A follow-up over 83 generations has been carried out, by the Southern blotting technique, of a Drosophila stock which is unstable in the location of Bari 1 elements. The persistent intrastock polymorphism detected is largely amenable to insertion/excision equilibria at 36 genomic sites that form a gradient in occupancy. In a closely related stock, Bari 1 elements are stable and exhibit a substantially different genomic distribution. These results suggest that in Drosophila preferential insertion sites may be defined with the contribution of host factors, although alternative interpretations are also possible. The relevance to the mechanism(s) that contains the potentially deleterious effects of transposition is discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00239-002-2356-7DOI Listing
November 2002