Publications by authors named "Tonino Alonzi"

40 Publications

In-vitro evaluation of the immunomodulatory effects of baricitinib: implication for COVID-19 therapy.

J Infect 2021 Feb 24. Epub 2021 Feb 24.

Translational Research Unit, National Institute for Infectious Diseases Lazzaro Spallanzani-IRCCS, Rome, Italy. Electronic address:

Objective: Baricitinib seems a promising therapy for COVID-19. To fully-investigate its effects, we in-vitro evaluated the impact of baricitinib on the SARS-CoV-2-specific-response using the whole-blood platform.

Methods: We evaluated baricitinib effect on the IFN-γ-release and on a panel of soluble factors by multiplex-technology after stimulating whole-blood from 39 COVID-19 patients with SARS-CoV-2 antigens. Staphylococcal Enterotoxin B (SEB) antigen was used as a positive control.

Results: In-vitro exogenous addition of baricitinib significantly decreased IFN-γ response to spike- (median: 0.21, IQR: 0.01-1; spike+baricitinib 1000 nM median: 0.05, IQR: 0-0.18; p<0.0001) and to the remainder-antigens (median: 0.08 IQR: 0-0.55; remainder-antigens+baricitinib 1000 nM median: 0.03, IQR: 0-0.14; p=0.0013). Moreover, baricitinib significantly decreased SEB-induced response (median: 12.52, IQR: 9.7-15.2; SEB+baricitinib 1000 nM median: 8, IQR: 1.44-12.16; p<0.0001). Baricitinib did modulate other soluble factors besides IFN-γ, significantly decreasing the spike-specific-response mediated by IL-17, IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, IL-4, IL-13, IL-1ra, IL-10, GM-CSF, FGF, IP-10, MCP-1, MIP-1β (p≤0.0156). The baricitinib-decreased SARS-CoV-2-specific-response was observed mainly in mild/moderate COVID-19 and in those with lymphocyte count ≥1 × 10/µl.

Conclusions: Exogenous addition of baricitinib decreases the in-vitro SARS-CoV-2-specific response in COVID-19 patients using a whole-blood platform. These results are the first to show the effects of this therapy on the immune-specific viral response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jinf.2021.02.023DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7904476PMC
February 2021

A whole blood test to measure SARS-CoV-2-specific response in COVID-19 patients.

Clin Microbiol Infect 2021 Feb 10;27(2):286.e7-286.e13. Epub 2020 Oct 10.

Translational Research Unit, National Institute for Infectious Diseases Lazzaro Spallanzani-IRCCS, Rome, Italy. Electronic address:

Objectives: To examine whether specific T-cell-responses to SARS-CoV-2 peptides can be detected in COVID-19 using a whole-blood experimental setting, which may be further explored as a potential diagnostic tool.

Methods: We evaluated interferon (IFN)-γ levels after stimulating whole-blood with spike and remainder-antigens peptides megapools (MP) derived from SARS-CoV-2 sequences; interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-1RA, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-7, IL-8, IL-9, IL-10, IL-12p70, IL-13, IL-15, IL-17A, eotaxin, basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF), granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF), granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), IFN-γ, Interferon gamma-induced protein 10 (IP-10), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1α, MIP-1β, Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), RANTES (regulated on activation, normal T cell expressed and secreted), tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) were also evaluated.

Results: IFN-γ-response to spike and remainder-antigens MPs was significantly increased in 35 COVID-19 patients compared with 29 'no COVID-19' individuals (medians spike-MP: 0.26 vs 0, p = 0.0002; medians remainder-antigens-MP: 0.07 vs 0.02; p = 0.02). This response was detected independently of patients' clinical parameters. IFN-γ-response to SARS-CoV-2-unrelated antigens cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Staphylococcal Enterotoxin B (SEB) was similar in COVID-19 compared with 'no COVID-19' individuals (median CMV: 3.46 vs 5.28, p = 0.16; median SEB: 12.68 vs 15.05; p = 0.1). In response to spike-MPs in COVID-19- compared with 'no COVID-19' -individuals, we found significant higher median of IL-2 (50.08 vs 0, p = 0.0018), IFN-γ (90.16 vs 0, p = 0.01), IL-4 (0.52 vs 0, p = 0.03), IL-13 (0.84 vs 0, p = 0.007) and MCP-1 (4602 vs 359.2, p = 0.05).

Conclusions: Immune response to SARS-CoV-2 peptides in a whole-blood assay is associated with COVID-19 and it is characterized by both Th1 and Th2 profile. This experimental approach may be useful for developing new T-cell based diagnostic tests for disease and vaccine settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cmi.2020.09.051DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7547312PMC
February 2021

Epidemic and pandemic viral infections: impact on tuberculosis and the lung: A consensus by the World Association for Infectious Diseases and Immunological Disorders (WAidid), Global Tuberculosis Network (GTN), and members of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Study Group for Mycobacterial Infections (ESGMYC).

Eur Respir J 2020 10 1;56(4). Epub 2020 Oct 1.

Translational Research Unit, Epidemiology and Preclinical Research Dept, "L. Spallanzani" National Institute for Infectious Diseases (INMI), IRCCS, Rome, Italy

Major epidemics, including some that qualify as pandemics, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), HIV, influenza A (H1N1)pdm/09 and most recently COVID-19, affect the lung. Tuberculosis (TB) remains the top infectious disease killer, but apart from syndemic TB/HIV little is known regarding the interaction of viral epidemics and pandemics with TB. The aim of this consensus-based document is to describe the effects of viral infections resulting in epidemics and pandemics that affect the lung (MERS, SARS, HIV, influenza A (H1N1)pdm/09 and COVID-19) and their interactions with TB. A search of the scientific literature was performed. A writing committee of international experts including the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Public Health Emergency (ECDC PHE) team, the World Association for Infectious Diseases and Immunological Disorders (WAidid), the Global Tuberculosis Network (GTN), and members of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) Study Group for Mycobacterial Infections (ESGMYC) was established. Consensus was achieved after multiple rounds of revisions between the writing committee and a larger expert group. A Delphi process involving the core group of authors (excluding the ECDC PHE team) identified the areas requiring review/consensus, followed by a second round to refine the definitive consensus elements. The epidemiology and immunology of these viral infections and their interactions with TB are discussed with implications for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of airborne infections (infection control, viral containment and workplace safety). This consensus document represents a rapid and comprehensive summary on what is known on the topic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1183/13993003.01727-2020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7527651PMC
October 2020

Optimization of the autophagy measurement in a human cell line and primary cells by flow cytometry.

Eur J Histochem 2019 Jun 26;63(2). Epub 2019 Jun 26.

Translational Research Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Preclinical Research, National Institute for Infectious Diseases Lazzaro Spallanzani-IRCCS, Rome.

The limited availability of rapid and reliable flow cytometry-based assays for ex vivo quantification of autophagy has hampered their clinical applications for studies of diseases pathogenesis or for the implementation of autophagy-targeting therapies. To this aim, we modified and improved the protocol of a commercial kit developed for quantifying the microtubule-associated protein 1A/1B light chain 3B (LC3), the most reliable marker for autophagosomes currently available. The protocol modifications were set up measuring the autophagic flux in neoplastic (THP-1 cells) and primary cells (peripheral blood mononuclear cells; PBMC) of healthy donors. Moreover, PBMC of active tuberculosis (TB) patients were stimulated with the Mycobacterium tuberculosis purified protein derivatives or infected with live Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG). We found that the baseline median fluorescent intensity (MFI) of THP-1 cells changed depending on the time of sample acquisition to the flow cytometer. To solve this problem, a fixation step was introduced in different stages of the assay's protocol, obtaining more reproducible and sensitive results when a post-LC3 staining fixation was performed, in either THP1 or PBMC. Furthermore, since we found that results are influenced by the type and the dose of the lysosome inhibitor used, the best dose of Chloroquine for LC3 accumulation were set up in either THP-1 cells or PBMC. Finally, applying these experimental settings, we measured the autophagic flux in CD14+ cells from active TB patients' PBMC upon BCG infection. In conclusion, our data indicate that the protocol modifications here described in this work improve the stability and accuracy of a flow cytometry-based assay for the evaluation of autophagy, thus assuring more standardised cell analyses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4081/ejh.2019.3044DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6610717PMC
June 2019

Can we predict tuberculosis cure? What tools are available?

Eur Respir J 2018 11 8;52(5). Epub 2018 Nov 8.

Dept of Global Health and Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Antibiotic treatment of tuberculosis takes ≥6 months, putting a major burden on patients and health systems in large parts of the world. Treatment beyond 2 months is needed to prevent tuberculosis relapse by clearing remaining, drug-tolerant bacilli. However, the majority of patients treated for only 2-3 months will cure without relapse and do not need prolonged treatment. Assays that can identify these patients at an early stage of treatment may significantly help reduce the treatment burden, while a test to identify those patients who will fail treatment may help target host-directed therapies.In this review we summarise the state of the art with regard to discovery of biomarkers that predict relapse-free cure for pulmonary tuberculosis. Positron emission tomography/computed tomography scanning to measure pulmonary inflammation enhances our understanding of "cure". Several microbiological and immunological markers seem promising; however, they still need a formal validation. In parallel, new research strategies are needed to generate reliable tests.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1183/13993003.01089-2018DOI Listing
November 2018

Negative Regulation of Mitochondrial Antiviral Signaling Protein-Mediated Antiviral Signaling by the Mitochondrial Protein LRPPRC During Hepatitis C Virus Infection.

Hepatology 2019 01 18;69(1):34-50. Epub 2018 Dec 18.

National Institute for Infectious Diseases IRCCS 'L. Spallanzani', Rome, Italy.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is highly efficient in establishing a chronic infection, having evolved multiple strategies to suppress the host antiviral responses. The HCV nonstructural 5A (NS5A) protein, in addition to its role in viral replication and assembly, has long been known to hamper the interferon (IFN) response. However, the mechanism of this inhibitory activity of NS5A remains partly characterized. In a functional proteomic screening carried out in HCV replicon cells, we identified the mitochondrial protein LRPPRC as an NS5A binding factor. Notably, we found that downregulation of LRPPRC expression results in a significant inhibition of HCV infection, which is associated with an increased activation of the IFN response. Moreover, we showed that LRPPRC acts as a negative regulator of the mitochondrial-mediated antiviral immunity, by interacting with mitochondrial antiviral signaling protein (MAVS) and inhibiting its association with TRAF3 and TRAF6. Finally, we demonstrated that NS5A is able to interfere with MAVS activity in a LRPPRC-dependent manner. Conclusion: Overall, our results indicate that NS5A contributes to the inhibition of innate immune pathways during HCV infection by exploiting the ability of LRPPRC to inhibit MAVS-regulated antiviral signaling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep.30149DOI Listing
January 2019

The laminA/NF-Y protein complex reveals an unknown transcriptional mechanism on cell proliferation.

Oncotarget 2017 Jan;8(2):2628-2646

Department of Research, Advanced Diagnostics and Technological Innovation, SAFU Unit, Translational Research Area, Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, 00144 Rome, Italy.

Lamin A is a component of the nuclear matrix that also controls proliferation by largely unknown mechanisms. NF-Y is a ubiquitous protein involved in cell proliferation composed of three subunits (-YA -YB -YC) all required for the DNA binding and transactivation activity. To get clues on new NF-Y partner(s) we performed a mass spectrometry screening of proteins that co-precipitate with the regulatory subunit of the complex, NF-YA. By this screening we identified lamin A as a novel putative NF-Y interactor. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments and confocal analysis confirmed the interaction between the two endogenous proteins. Interestingly, this association occurs on euchromatin regions, too. ChIP experiments demonstrate lamin A enrichment in several promoter regions of cell cycle related genes in a NF-Y dependent manner. Gain and loss of function experiments reveal that lamin A counteracts NF-Y transcriptional activity. Taking advantage of a recently generated transgenic reporter mouse, called MITO-Luc, in which an NF-Y-dependent promoter controls luciferase expression, we demonstrate that lamin A counteracts NF-Y transcriptional activity not only in culture cells but also in living animals. Altogether, our data demonstrate the occurrence of lamin A/NF-Y interaction and suggest a possible role of this protein complex in regulation of NF-Y function in cell proliferation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.12914DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5356829PMC
January 2017

The RNA-Binding Protein SYNCRIP Is a Component of the Hepatocyte Exosomal Machinery Controlling MicroRNA Sorting.

Cell Rep 2016 10;17(3):799-808

Department of Cellular Biotechnologies and Haematology, Istituto Pasteur Italia, Fondazione Cenci Bolognetti, Sapienza University of Rome, Viale Regina Elena 324, 00161 Rome, Italy; National Institute for Infectious Diseases L. Spallanzani, IRCCS, Via Portuense 292, 00149 Rome, Italy. Electronic address:

Despite clear evidence that exosomal microRNAs (miRNAs) are able to modulate the cellular microenvironment and that exosomal RNA cargo selection is deregulated in pathological conditions, the mechanisms controlling specific RNA sorting into extracellular vesicles are still poorly understood. Here, we identified the RNA binding protein SYNCRIP (synaptotagmin-binding cytoplasmic RNA-interacting protein; also known as hnRNP-Q or NSAP1) as a component of the hepatocyte exosomal miRNA sorting machinery. SYNCRIP knockdown impairs sorting of miRNAs in exosomes. Furthermore, SYNCRIP directly binds to specific miRNAs enriched in exosomes sharing a common extra-seed sequence (hEXO motif). The hEXO motif has a role in the regulation of miRNA localization, since embedment of this motif into a poorly exported miRNA enhances its loading into exosomes. This evidence provides insights into the mechanisms of miRNA exosomal sorting process. Moreover, these findings open the way for the possible selective modification of the miRNAs exosomal cargo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2016.09.031DOI Listing
October 2016

Hepatitis C virus relies on lipoproteins for its life cycle.

World J Gastroenterol 2016 Feb;22(6):1953-65

Germana Grassi, Giorgia Di Caprio, Gian Maria Fimia, Giuseppe Ippolito, Marco Tripodi, Tonino Alonzi, National Institute for Infectious Diseases "L. Spallanzani" IRCCS, 00149 Rome, Italy.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects over 150 million people worldwide. In most cases, HCV infection becomes chronic causing liver disease ranging from fibrosis to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Viral persistence and pathogenesis are due to the ability of HCV to deregulate specific host processes, mainly lipid metabolism and innate immunity. In particular, HCV exploits the lipoprotein machineries for almost all steps of its life cycle. The aim of this review is to summarize current knowledge concerning the interplay between HCV and lipoprotein metabolism. We discuss the role played by members of lipoproteins in HCV entry, replication and virion production.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3748/wjg.v22.i6.1953DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4726671PMC
February 2016

Autophagy in HCV infection: keeping fat and inflammation at bay.

Biomed Res Int 2014 5;2014:265353. Epub 2014 Aug 5.

National Institute for Infectious Diseases "Lazzaro Spallanzani" IRCCS, IRCCS, 00149 Rome, Italy ; Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies (DiSTeBA), University of Salento, 73100 Lecce, Italy.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is one of the main causes of chronic liver disease. Viral persistence and pathogenesis rely mainly on the ability of HCV to deregulate specific host processes, including lipid metabolism and innate immunity. Recently, autophagy has emerged as a cellular pathway, playing a role in several aspects of HCV infection. This review summarizes current knowledge on the molecular mechanisms that link the HCV life cycle with autophagy machinery. In particular, we discuss the role of HCV/autophagy interaction in dysregulating inflammation and lipid homeostasis and its potential for translational applications in the treatment of HCV-infected patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/265353DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4138948PMC
May 2015

Molecular mechanisms controlling the phenotype and the EMT/MET dynamics of hepatocyte.

Liver Int 2015 Feb 20;35(2):302-10. Epub 2014 May 20.

Istituto Pasteur-Fondazione Cenci Bolognetti, Department of Cellular Biotechnologies and Haematology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

The complex spatial and paracrine relationships between the various liver histotypes are essential for proper functioning of the hepatic parenchymal cells. Only within a correct tissue organization, in fact, they stably maintain their identity and differentiated phenotype. The loss of histotype identity, which invariably occurs in the primary hepatocytes in culture, or in vivo in particular pathological conditions (fibrosis and tumours), is mainly because of the phenomenon of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). The EMT process, that occurs in the many epithelial cells, appears to be driven by a number of general, non-tissue-specific, master transcriptional regulators. The reverse process, the mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET), as yet much less characterized at a molecular level, restores specific epithelial identities, and thus must include tissue-specific master elements. In this review, we will summarize the so far unveiled events of EMT/MET occurring in liver cells. In particular, we will focus on hepatocyte and describe the pivotal role in the control of EMT/MET dynamics exerted by a tissue-specific molecular mini-circuitry. Recent evidence, indeed, highlighted as two transcriptional factors, the master gene of EMT Snail, and the master gene of hepatocyte differentiation HNF4α, exhorting a direct reciprocal repression, act as pivotal elements in determining opposite cellular outcomes. The different balances between these two master regulators, further integrated by specific microRNAs, in fact, were found responsible for the EMT/METs dynamics as well as for the preservation of both hepatocyte and stem/precursor cells identity and differentiation. Overall, these findings impact the maintenance of stem cells and differentiated cells both in in vivo EMT/MET physio-pathological processes as well as in culture.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/liv.12577DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4344819PMC
February 2015

Low-density lipoprotein and ritonavir: an interaction between antiretrovirals and lipids mediated by P-glycoprotein.

J Antimicrob Chemother 2014 Jul 19;69(7):1760-6. Epub 2014 Mar 19.

Clinical Biochemistry and Pharmacology Laboratory, National Institute for Infectious Diseases, 'L. Spallanzani' IRCCS, Via Portuense, 292, 00149 Rome, Italy.

Background: Antiretroviral therapy has considerably reduced HIV disease progression, but complete eradication of HIV cannot actually be achieved. Moreover, prolonged use of protease inhibitors (PIs) causes profound changes in lipid metabolism with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. P-glycoprotein (P-gp) is expressed on many cell types, playing an important role in the efflux of drugs including PIs, limiting their intracellular concentration. Furthermore, several studies showed that P-gp is involved in lipid homeostasis and its activity is regulated by cholesterol.

Methods: THP-1 monocytes were used to study: (i) the influence of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) on P-gp expression and function, assessed by flow cytometry and quantitative real-time PCR analysis and measuring ritonavir and rhodamine-123 dye efflux, respectively; and (ii) the influence of ritonavir on cholesterol mobilization. The intracellular levels of ritonavir or cholesterol were measured by HPLC-UV and filipin staining, respectively.

Results: In THP-1 cells, LDL was able to yield an increase in both P-gp expression and activity. THP-1 cells treated with LDL showed a decrease in the intracellular ritonavir concentration in a dose-dependent manner. Notably, ritonavir induced reduced cholesterol mobilization in THP-1 cells, probably due to its inhibitory action on P-gp activity.

Conclusions: Our data indicate a potential interplay between LDL and ritonavir mediated by P-gp. This interaction could influence both therapy effectiveness and cellular lipid metabolism, with important implications in the management of HIV patients treated with boosted PIs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jac/dku066DOI Listing
July 2014

Spike-in SILAC proteomic approach reveals the vitronectin as an early molecular signature of liver fibrosis in hepatitis C infections with hepatic iron overload.

Proteomics 2014 May;14(9):1107-15

Department of Cellular Biotechnologies and Haematology, Istituto Pasteur-Fondazione Cenci Bolognetti, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy; "L. Spallanzani" National Institute for Infectious Diseases, IRCCS, Rome, Italy.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV)-induced iron overload has been shown to promote liver fibrosis, steatosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. The zonal-restricted histological distribution of pathological iron deposits has hampered the attempt to perform large-scale in vivo molecular investigations on the comorbidity between iron and HCV. Diagnostic and prognostic markers are not yet available to assess iron overload-induced liver fibrogenesis and progression in HCV infections. Here, by means of Spike-in SILAC proteomic approach, we first unveiled a specific membrane protein expression signature of HCV cell cultures in the presence of iron overload. Computational analysis of proteomic dataset highlighted the hepatocytic vitronectin expression as the most promising specific biomarker for iron-associated fibrogenesis in HCV infections. Next, the robustness of our in vitro findings was challenged in human liver biopsies by immunohistochemistry and yielded two major results: (i) hepatocytic vitronectin expression is associated to liver fibrogenesis in HCV-infected patients with iron overload; (ii) hepatic vitronectin expression was found to discriminate also the transition between mild to moderate fibrosis in HCV-infected patients without iron overload.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pmic.201300422DOI Listing
May 2014

Human haemato-endothelial precursors: cord blood CD34+ cells produce haemogenic endothelium.

PLoS One 2012 4;7(12):e51109. Epub 2012 Dec 4.

Department of Haematology, Oncology and Molecular Medicine, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.

Embryologic and genetic evidence suggest a common origin of haematopoietic and endothelial lineages. In the murine embryo, recent studies indicate the presence of haemogenic endothelium and of a common haemato-endothelial precursor, the haemangioblast. Conversely, so far, little evidence supports the presence of haemogenic endothelium and haemangioblasts in later stages of development. Our studies indicate that human cord blood haematopoietic progenitors (CD34+45+144-), triggered by murine hepatocyte conditioned medium, differentiate into adherent proliferating endothelial precursors (CD144+CD105+CD146+CD31+CD45-) capable of functioning as haemogenic endothelium. These cells, proven to give rise to functional vasculature in vivo, if further instructed by haematopoietic growth factors, first switch to transitional CD144+45+ cells and then to haematopoietic cells. These results highlight the plasticity of haemato-endhothelial precursors in human post-natal life. Furthermore, these studies may provide highly enriched populations of human post-fetal haemogenic endothelium, paving the way for innovative projects at a basic and possibly clinical level.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0051109PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3514182PMC
May 2013

TGFβ overrides HNF4α tumor suppressing activity through GSK3β inactivation: implication for hepatocellular carcinoma gene therapy.

J Hepatol 2013 Jan 4;58(1):65-72. Epub 2012 Sep 4.

Istituto Pasteur-Fondazione Cenci Bolognetti, Dipartimento di Biotecnologie Cellulari ed Ematologia, University La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.

Background & Aims: The tumor fate derives from cell autonomous properties and niche microenvironmental cues. The transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) is a major microenvironmental factor for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) influencing tumor dedifferentiation, induction of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and acquisition of metastatic properties. The loss of the transcriptional factor HNF4α is a predominant mechanism through which HCCs progress to a more aggressive phenotype; its re-expression, reducing tumor formation and repressing EMT program, has been suggested as a therapeutic tool for HCC gene therapy. We investigated the influence of TGFβ on the anti-EMT and tumor suppressor HNF4α activity.

Methods: Cell motility and invasion were analyzed by wound healing and invasion assays. EMT was evaluated by RT-qPCR and immunofluorescence. ChIP and EMSA assays were utilized for investigation of the HNF4α DNA binding activity. HNF4α post-translational modifications (PTMs) were assessed by 2-DE analysis. GSK3β activity was modulated by chemical inhibition and constitutive active mutant expression.

Results: We demonstrated that the presence of TGFβ impairs the efficiency of HNF4α as tumor suppressor. We found that TGFβ induces HNF4α PTMs that correlate with the early loss of HNF4α DNA binding activity on target gene promoters. Furthermore, we identified the GSK3β kinase as one of the TGFβ targets mediating HNF4α functional inactivation: GSK3β chemical inhibition results in HNF4α DNA binding impairment while a constitutively active GSK3β mutant impairs the TGFβ-induced inhibitory effect on HNF4α tumor suppressor activity.

Conclusions: Our data identify in the dominance of TGFβ a limit for the HNF4α-mediated gene therapy of HCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2012.08.023DOI Listing
January 2013

Ferritin heavy chain is the host factor responsible for HCV-induced inhibition of apoB-100 production and is required for efficient viral infection.

J Proteome Res 2012 May 10;11(5):2786-97. Epub 2012 Apr 10.

L. Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases, IRCCS, via Portuense 292, 00149, Rome, Italy.

Hepatic fat export occurs by apolipoprotein B-100-containing lipoprotein production, whereas impaired production leads to liver steatosis. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is associated to dysregulation of apoB-100 secretion and steatosis; however, the molecular mechanism by which HCV affects the apoB-100 secretion is not understood. Here, combining quantitative proteomics and computational biology, we propose ferritin heavy chain (Fth) as being the cellular determinant of apoB-100 production inhibition. By means of molecular analyses, we found that HCV nonstructural proteins and NS5A appear to be sufficient for inducing Fth up-regulation. Fth in turn was found to inhibit apoB-100 secretion leading to increased intracellular degradation via proteasome. Notably, intracellular Fth down-regulation by siRNA restores apoB-100 secretion. The inverse correlation between ferritin and plasma apoB-100 concentrations was also found in JFH-1 HCV cell culture systems (HCVcc) and HCV-infected patients. Finally, Fth expression was found to be required for robust HCV infection. These observations provide a further molecular explanation for the onset of liver steatosis and allow for hypothesizing on new therapeutic and antiviral strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/pr201128sDOI Listing
May 2012

Autophagy protects cells from HCV-induced defects in lipid metabolism.

Gastroenterology 2012 Mar 7;142(3):644-653.e3. Epub 2011 Dec 7.

National Institute for Infectious Diseases IRCCS L. Spallanzani, Rome, Italy.

Background & Aims: Autophagy is a lysosome-mediated catabolic process that mediates degradation and recycling of all major components of eukaryotic cells. Different stresses, including viral and bacterial infection, induce autophagy, which can promote cell survival by removing the stress inducer or by attenuating its dangerous effects. High levels of autophagy occur during infection of cells with hepatitis C virus (HCV), but the clinical relevance of this process is not clear.

Methods: Levels of autophagy were analyzed in liver biopsy samples from 22 patients with HCV infection using microtubule-associated protein-1 light chain 3 immunoblotting; associations with histological and metabolic parameters were evaluated by Pearson correlation analysis. We investigated the role of HCV-induced autophagy in lipid degradation in cells infected with the virus or replicons, and analyzed autophagosome contents by confocal microscopy and by measuring lipid levels after inhibition of autophagy by Beclin 1 knockdown or lysosome inhibitors.

Results: In liver biopsy samples from patients with HCV, there was an inverse correlation between microvesicular steatosis and level of autophagy (r = -0.617; P = .002). HCV selectively induced autophagy of lipids in virus-infected and replicon cells. In each system, autophagosomes frequently colocalized with lipid deposits, mainly formed by unesterified cholesterol. Inhibition of the autophagic process in these cells significantly increased the induction of cholesterol accumulation by HCV.

Conclusions: Autophagy counteracts the alterations in lipid metabolism induced by HCV. Disruption of the autophagic process might contribute to development of steatosis in patients with HCV.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2011.11.033DOI Listing
March 2012

The stable repression of mesenchymal program is required for hepatocyte identity: a novel role for hepatocyte nuclear factor 4α.

Hepatology 2011 Jun;53(6):2063-74

Department of Cellular Biotechnologies and Hematology, Pasteur Institute-Cenci Bolognetti Foundation, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

Unlabelled: The concept that cellular terminal differentiation is stably maintained once development is complete has been questioned by numerous observations showing that differentiated epithelium may undergo an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) program. EMT and the reverse process, mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET), are typical events of development, tissue repair, and tumor progression. In this study, we aimed to clarify the molecular mechanisms underlying these phenotypic conversions in hepatocytes. Hepatocyte nuclear factor 4α (HNF4α) was overexpressed in different hepatocyte cell lines and the resulting gene expression profile was determined by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. HNF4α recruitment on promoters of both mesenchymal and EMT regulator genes was determined by way of electrophoretic mobility shift assay and chromatin immunoprecipitation. The effect of HNF4α depletion was assessed in silenced cells and in the context of the whole liver of HNF4 knockout animals. Our results identified key EMT regulators and mesenchymal genes as new targets of HNF4α. HNF4α, in cooperation with its target HNF1α, directly inhibits transcription of the EMT master regulatory genes Snail, Slug, and HMGA2 and of several mesenchymal markers. HNF4α-mediated repression of EMT genes induces MET in hepatomas, and its silencing triggers the mesenchymal program in differentiated hepatocytes both in cell culture and in the whole liver.

Conclusion: The pivotal role of HNF4α in the induction and maintenance of hepatocyte differentiation should also be ascribed to its capacity to continuously repress the mesenchymal program; thus, both HNF4α activator and repressor functions are necessary for the identity of hepatocytes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep.24280DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6624426PMC
June 2011

Hepatitis C virus production requires apolipoprotein A-I and affects its association with nascent low-density lipoproteins.

Gut 2011 Mar 12;60(3):378-86. Epub 2010 Oct 12.

National Institute for Infectious Diseases L Spallanzani IRCCS, Rome, Italy.

Background/aims: The life cycle of hepatitis C virus (HCV) is intimately linked to the lipid metabolism of the host. In particular, HCV exploits the metabolic machinery of the lipoproteins in several steps of its life cycle such as circulation in the bloodstream, cell attachment and entry, assembly and release of viral particles. However, the details of how HCV interacts with and influences the metabolism of the host lipoproteins are not well understood. A study was undertaken to investigate whether HCV directly affects the protein composition of host circulating lipoproteins.

Methods: A proteomic analysis of circulating very low-, low- and high-density lipoproteins (VLDL, LDL and HDL), isolated from either in-treatment naïve HCV-infected patients or healthy donors (HD), was performed using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and tandem mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF/TOF). The results obtained were further investigated using in vitro models of HCV infection and replication.

Results: A decreased level of apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I) was found in the LDL fractions of HCV-infected patients. This result was confirmed by western blot and ELISA analysis. HCV cellular models (JFH1 HCV cell culture system (HCVcc) and HCV subgenomic replicons) showed that the decreased apoA-I/LDL association originates from hepatic biogenesis rather than lipoprotein catabolism occurring in the circulation, and is not due to a downregulation of the apoA-I protein concentration. The sole non-structural viral proteins were sufficient to impair the apoA-I/LDL association. Functional evidence was obtained for involvement of apoA-I in the viral life cycle such as RNA replication and virion production. The specific siRNA-mediated downregulation of apoA-I led to a reduction in both HCV RNA and viral particle levels in culture.

Conclusions: This study shows that HCV induces lipoprotein structural modification and that its replication and production are linked to the host lipoprotein metabolism, suggesting apoA-I as a new possible target for antiviral therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gut.2010.211292DOI Listing
March 2011

Proteomic analysis reveals a major role for contact inhibition in the terminal differentiation of hepatocytes.

J Hepatol 2010 Feb 25;52(2):234-43. Epub 2009 Nov 25.

Laboratory of Gene Expression, National Institute for Infectious Diseases L. Spallanzani IRCCS, Via Portuense 292, Rome, Italy.

Background & Aims: Hepatocytes are considered an exception of the paradigmatic inverse correlation between cell proliferation and terminal differentiation. In fact, hepatic vital functions are guaranteed by proliferating parenchymal cells during liver regeneration. However, a fine molecular characterization of the relationship between proliferation and differentiation in hepatocytes has been hampered by the lack of reliable in vivo or in vitro models.

Methods: The hepatocyte terminal differentiation program was characterized in the immortalized, untransformed and differentiated hepatocytic cell line MMH, using several techniques. Particularly, two-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis combined to tandem mass spectrometry proteomic approach was used. Cell cycle and cell adhesion properties of MMH have been altered using either myc-overexpression and MEK1/2 inhibition or a constitutive active beta-catenin mutant, respectively.

Results: The hepatocyte terminal differentiation program is stimulated by the exit from the cell cycle induced by cell-cell contact. Comparative proteomic analysis of proliferating versus quiescent hepatocytes validated the importance of contact inhibition, identifying 68 differently expressed gene products, representing 49 unique proteins. Notably, enzymes involved in important liver functions such as detoxification processes, lipid metabolism, iron and vitamin A storage and secretion, anti-inflammatory response and exocytosis were found significantly up-regulated in quiescent hepatocytes. Finally, we found that: (i) cell cycle arrest induced by MEK1/2 inhibition is not sufficient to induce hepatic product expression; (ii) constitutive activation of beta-catenin counteracts the contact inhibition-induced terminal differentiation.

Conclusion: The hepatocyte terminal differentiation program requires a quiescent state maintained by cell-cell contact through the E-cadherin/beta-catenin pathway, rather than the inhibition of proliferation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2009.11.013DOI Listing
February 2010

Proteomic profiling of PrP27-30-enriched preparations extracted from the brain of hamsters with experimental scrapie.

Proteomics 2009 Aug;9(15):3802-14

Dipartimento di Scienze Biochimiche, "Sapienza" University of Rome, Italy.

Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are neurodegenerative disorders characterized by the accumulation in the CNS of a pathological conformer (PrP(TSE)) of the host-encoded cellular prion protein (PrP(C)). PrP(TSE) has a central role in the pathogenesis of the disease but other factors are likely involved in the pathological process. In this work we employed a multi-step proteomic approach for the identification of proteins that co-purify with the protease-resistant core of PrP(TSE) (PrP27-30) extracted from brains of hamsters with experimental scrapie. We identified ferritin, calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase alpha type II, apolipoprotein E, and tubulin as the major components associated with PrP27-30 but also trace amounts of actin, cofilin, Hsp90alpha, the gamma subunit of the T-complex protein 1, glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase, histones, and keratins. Whereas some of these proteins (tubulin and ferritin) are known to bind PrP, other proteins (calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase alpha type II, Hsp90alpha) may associate with PrP(TSE) fibrils during disease. Apolipoprotein E and actin have been previously observed in association with PrP(TSE), whereas cofilin and actin were shown to form abnormal rods in the brain of patients with Alzheimer disease. The roles of these proteins in the development of brain lesions are still unclear and further work is needed to explain their involvement in the pathogenesis of TSEs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pmic.200900085DOI Listing
August 2009

Convergence of Wnt signaling on the HNF4alpha-driven transcription in controlling liver zonation.

Gastroenterology 2009 Aug 18;137(2):660-72. Epub 2009 May 18.

Department of Cellular Biotechnologies and Haematology, Istituto Pasteur-Fondazione Cenci Bolognetti, University Sapienza of Rome, Italy.

Background & Aims: In each hepatocyte, the specific repertoire of gene expression is influenced by its exact location along the portocentrovenular axis of the hepatic lobule and provides a reason for the liver functions compartmentalization defined "metabolic zonation." So far, few molecular players controlling genetic programs of periportal (PP) and perivenular (PV) hepatocytes have been identified; the elucidation of zonation mechanisms remains a challenge for experimental hepatology. Recently, a key role in induction and maintenance of the hepatocyte heterogeneity has been ascribed to Wnt/beta-catenin pathway. We sought to clarify how this wide-ranging stimulus integrates with hepatocyte specificity.

Methods: Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) allowed the transcriptional profiling of hepatocytes derived from in vitro differentiation of liver stem cells. The GSK3beta inhibitor 6-bromoindirubin-3'-oxime (BIO) was used for beta-catenin stabilization. Co-immunoprecipitations were used to study biochemical protein interactions while ChIP assays allowed the in vivo inspection of PV and PP genes regulatory regions.

Results: We found that spontaneous differentiation of liver stem cells gives rise to PP hepatocytes that, after Wnt pathway activation, switch into PV hepatocytes. Next, we showed that the Wnt downstream player LEF1 interacts with the liver-enriched transcriptional factor HNF4alpha. Finally, we unveiled that the BIO induced activation of PV genes correlates with LEF1 binding to both its own and HNF4alpha consensus, and the repression of PP genes correlates with HNF4alpha displacement from its own consensus.

Conclusion: Our data show a direct and hitherto unknown convergence of the canonical Wnt signaling on the HNF4alpha-driven transcription providing evidences of a mechanism controlling liver zonated gene expression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2009.05.038DOI Listing
August 2009

Analysis of the periplasmic proteome of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a metabolically versatile opportunistic pathogen.

Proteomics 2009 Apr;9(7):1901-15

National Institute for Infectious Diseases Lazzaro Spallanzani, Rome, Italy.

The Gram-negative bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a main cause of infection in hospitalized, burned, immunocompromised, and cystic fibrosis patients. Many processes essential for P. aeruginosa pathogenesis, e.g., nutrient uptake, antibiotic resistance, and virulence, take place in the cell envelope and depend on components residing in the periplasmic space. Recent high-throughput studies focused on P. aeruginosa membrane compartments. However, the composition and dynamics of its periplasm remain largely uncharacterized. Here, we report a detailed description of the periplasmic proteome of the wild-type P. aeruginosa strain PAO1 by 2-DE and MALDI-TOF/TOF analysis. Three extraction methods were compared at proteome level in order to achieve the most reliable and comprehensive periplasmic protein map. A total of 495 spots representing 395 different proteins were identified. Most of the high intensity spots corresponded to periplasmic proteins, while cytoplasmic contaminants were mainly detected among faint spots. The majority of the identified periplasmic proteins is involved in transport, cell-envelope integrity, and protein folding control. Notably, more than 30% still has an unpredicted function. This work provides the first overview of the P. aeruginosa periplasm and offers the basis for future studies on periplasmic proteome changes occurring during P. aeruginosa adaptation to different environments and/or antibiotic treatments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pmic.200800618DOI Listing
April 2009

Function and ribosomal localization of aIF6, a translational regulator shared by archaea and eukarya.

Nucleic Acids Res 2009 Jan 26;37(1):256-67. Epub 2008 Nov 26.

Dipartimento Biotecnologie Cellulari ed Ematologia, Policlinico Umberto I, Università di Roma Sapienza, Roma, Italy.

The translation factor IF6 is shared by the Archaea and the Eukarya, but is not found in Bacteria. The properties of eukaryal IF6 (eIF6) have been extensively studied, but remain somewhat elusive. eIF6 behaves as a ribosome-anti-association factor and is involved in miRNA-mediated gene silencing; however, it also seems to participate in ribosome synthesis and export. Here we have determined the function and ribosomal localization of the archaeal (Sulfolobus solfataricus) IF6 homologue (aIF6). We find that aIF6 binds specifically to the 50S ribosomal subunits, hindering the formation of 70S ribosomes and strongly inhibiting translation. aIF6 is uniformly expressed along the cell cycle, but it is upregulated following both cold- and heat shock. The aIF6 ribosomal binding site lies in the middle of the 30-S interacting surface of the 50S subunit, including a number of critical RNA and protein determinants involved in subunit association. The data suggest that the IF6 protein evolved in the archaeal-eukaryal lineage to modulate translational efficiency under unfavourable environmental conditions, perhaps acquiring additional functions during eukaryotic evolution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkn959DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2615626PMC
January 2009

Elucidation of lipoprotein particles structure by proteomic analysis.

Expert Rev Proteomics 2008 Feb;5(1):91-104

National Institute for Infectious Diseases, L. Spallanzani, IRCCS, Rome, Italy.

Lipoproteins are responsible for lipid packaging and transport through the bloodstream, and for their delivery to target tissues. Their participation in process, such as inflammation and innate immunity has also been suggested recently. Lipoprotein particles have very complex biochemical structures, which result from intricate processes involving coordinated mechanisms of protein and lipid synthesis, intracellular assembling and trafficking, and intra- and extracellular metabolism. Alterations in these mechanisms cause several negative effects on human health. The ability of current proteomic approaches to dissect the dynamic nature of complex particles revealing protein composition and post-translational modifications is shedding further light on lipoprotein structures and functions. This review summarizes lipoprotein classification, biogenesis and metabolism as well as discussing how the results of 20 proteomics-based reports integrate our knowledge on both their biochemical composition and their effects on target cells, thus contributing to reveal the possible functions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1586/14789450.5.1.91DOI Listing
February 2008

Determination of abacavir, amprenavir, didanosine, efavirenz, nevirapine, and stavudine concentration in human plasma by MALDI-TOF/TOF.

J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci 2008 Mar 16;863(2):249-57. Epub 2008 Jan 16.

Istituto Nazionale per le Malattie Infettive IRCCS Lazzaro Spallanzani, Via Portuense 292, I-00149 Roma, Italy.

The interest in therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) of antiretroviral drugs has grown significantly since highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) became a standard of care in clinical practice. TDM is useful to determine the best dosage regimen adapted to each patient. Here, we apply MALDI-TOF/TOF technology to quantify abacavir, amprenavir, didanosine, efavirenz, nevirapine, and stavudine in the plasma of HIV-infected patients, by standard additions analysis. Regression of standard additions was linear over the whole anti-HIV concentration range explored (1.00 x 10(-2)-1.00 pmol/microL). The absolute recovery ranged between 80% and 110%. Values of the drug concentration determined by MALDI-TOF/TOF were in the range of 1.00 x 10(-2)-1.00 pmol/microL. The limit of quantification value was 1.00 x 10(-2)pmol/microL for abacavir, amprenavir, didanosine, efavirenz, nevirapine, and stavudine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jchromb.2008.01.009DOI Listing
March 2008

The RNA-dependent RNA polymerase essential for post-transcriptional gene silencing in Neurospora crassa interacts with replication protein A.

Nucleic Acids Res 2008 Feb 29;36(2):532-8. Epub 2007 Nov 29.

Dipartimento di Biotecnologie Cellulari ed Ematologia, Università La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.

Post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) pathways play a role in genome defence and have been extensively studied, yet how repetitive elements in the genome are identified is still unclear. It has been suggested that they may produce aberrant transcripts (aRNA) that are converted by an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP) into double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), the essential intermediate of PTGS. However, how RdRP enzymes recognize aberrant transcripts remains a key question. Here we show that in Neurospora crassa the RdRP QDE-1 interacts with Replication Protein A (RPA), part of the DNA replication machinery. We show that both QDE-1 and RPA are nuclear proteins and that QDE-1 is specifically recruited onto the repetitive transgenic loci. We speculate that this localization of QDE-1 could allow the in situ production of dsRNA using transgenic nascent transcripts as templates, as in other systems. Supporting a link between the two proteins, we found that the accumulation of short interfering RNAs (siRNAs), the hallmark of silencing, is dependent on an ongoing DNA synthesis. The interaction between QDE-1 and RPA is important since it should guide further studies aimed at understanding the specificity of the RdRP and it provides for the first time a potential link between a PTGS component and the DNA replication machinery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkm1071DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2241871PMC
February 2008

Hepatocyte-conditioned medium sustains endothelial differentiation of human hematopoietic-endothelial progenitors.

Hepatology 2007 May;45(5):1218-28

National Institute for Infectious Diseases L. Spallanzani, IRCCS, Rome, Italy.

Unlabelled: Liver neo-angiogenesis plays a fundamental role in physiological and pathological processes such as regeneration, cirrhosis, autoimmune hepatitis, and alcoholic liver disease. How liver parenchymal cells influence angiogenesis is largely unknown. We studied the influence of soluble factors released by hepatocytes on hematopoietic and endothelial cell differentiation. Human CD34+ cells cultured for several weeks in a hepatocyte-conditioned medium gradually decrease the expression of CD34 and CD133 markers (i.e. after 4 weeks from 85% and 69%, respectively, to 6% and 3%, respectively), whereas expression of CD144 and CD14 cell markers increased (from 2% and 8%, respectively, to 54% and 55%, respectively). The cells' capacity to form hematopoietic colonies in methylcellulose declined with time, whereas they acquired endothelial morphology, expressed endothelial markers, and incorporated into newly forming vascular structures both in vitro and in vivo. Cultured single CD34+ cells formed colonies expressing both hematopoietic (CD45+) and endothelial (CD144+) markers, suggesting they constitute a bona fide hemangioblast population.

Conclusion: This system allowed subsequent stages of differentiation of hematopoietic cells to endothelial cells to be defined, underlining the strict interrelationship between endothelial and hematopoietic cells in a hepatocyte environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep.21568DOI Listing
May 2007

Very low density lipoprotein and low density lipoprotein isolated from patients with hepatitis C infection induce altered cellular lipid metabolism.

J Med Virol 2007 Mar;79(3):254-8

Department of Haematology, Oncology and Molecular Medicine, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.

Several abnormalities of lipid metabolism, including hypo-beta-lipoproteinemia and liver steatosis are associated with infection by hepatitis C virus (HCV). The aim of this study was to determine whether circulating lipoproteins of patients with HCV infection could directly cause alterations of lipid cellular metabolism. To this end the metabolic response of human monocyte-derived macrophages (HMDM) to very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), measuring the cholesteryl ester (CE) and triglyceride (TG) production was analyzed. Lipoproteins were isolated from 18 patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV-VLDL and HCV-LDL) and from normal healthy donors (ct-VLDL and ct-LDL). In comparison to ct-lipoproteins, HCV-lipoproteins induced significant differences in HMDM CE and TG production. HCV-VLDL decreased CE and TG production; while HCV-LDL induced an increased TG synthesis. The present findings suggest that HCV infection modifies VLDL and LDL molecular composition, affecting cellular lipid metabolism, thus promoting intracellular lipid accumulation and hypo-beta-lipoproteinemia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jmv.20793DOI Listing
March 2007

Proteomic analysis of human very low-density lipoprotein by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and MALDI-TOF/TOF.

Proteomics 2007 Jan;7(1):143-54

National Institute for Infectious Diseases L. Spallanzani, IRCCS, Rome, Italy.

Biochemical studies of lipoproteins have shed light on their composition, highly contributing to the comprehension of their function. Due to the complexity of their structure, however, an in-depth structural analysis, in terms of components and PTMs, may still unravel important players in physiological and pathological processes of lipid metabolism. In this study, we performed a protein map of very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) using a 2-DE MALDI-TOF/TOF proteomic approach. Several VLDL-associated apolipoproteins were identified, including five isoforms of apoE, three isoforms of apoC-IV, and one isoform each of apoC-III, apoM, apoA-I, and apoA-IV. Notably, we also identified seven isoforms of apoL-I and two isoforms of prenylcysteine lyase as new VLDL-associated proteins. Furthermore, we were able to identify PTM of apoE, which was found to be differently O-glycosylated at Thr212 residue, and PTM of apoL-I which we described, for the first time, to be phosphorylated at Ser296. While the physiological relevance of our finding remains to be assessed, we believe that our results will be useful as reference for future studies of VLDL structure in specific physiopathological conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pmic.200600339DOI Listing
January 2007