Antonio Giuditta

Emeritus Professor of Physiology

Name Antonio
Surname Giuditta
Institution University of Naples – Federico II
Address Department of Biology, University of Naples Federico II, Via Cinthia, 80126, Naples, Italy
Antonio Giuditta


  • DNA in Squid Synaptosomes.

    Publication Date: 19/04/2018 on Molecular neurobiology
    by Cefaliello C, Prisco M, Crispino M, Giuditta A
    DOI: 10.1007/s12035-018-1071-3

    The synthesis of brain metabolic DNA (BMD) is modulated by learning and circadian oscillations and is not involved in cell division or DNA repair. Data from rats have highlighted its prevalent association with the mitochondrial fraction and its lack of identity with mtDNA. These features suggested that BMD could be localized in synaptosomes that are the major contaminants of brain mitochondrial fractions. The hypothesis has been examined by immunochemical analyses of the large synaptosomes of squid optic lobes that are readily prepared and identified. Optic lobe slices were incubated with 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine (BrdU) and the isolated synaptosomal fraction was exposed to the green fluorescent anti-BrdU antibody. This procedure revealed that newly synthesized BrdU-labeled BMD is present in a significant percent of the large synaptosomes derived from the nerve terminals of retinal photoreceptor neurons and in synaptosomal bodies of smaller size. Synaptosomal BMD synthesis was strongly inhibited by actinomycin D. In addition, treatment of the synaptosomal fraction with Hoechst 33258, a blue fluorescent dye specific for dsDNA, indicated that native DNA was present in all synaptosomes. The possible role of synaptic BMD is briefly discussed.

  • Brain Metabolic DNA in Rat Cytoplasm.

    Publication Date: 09/02/2018 on Molecular neurobiology
    by Giuditta A, Rutigliano B
    DOI: 10.1007/s12035-018-0932-0

    Brain metabolic DNA (BMD) is not involved in cell division or DNA repair but is modulated by memory acquisition, sleep processing, and circadian oscillations. Using routine methods of subcellular fractionation, newly synthesized BMD from male rats is shown to be localized in crude nuclear, mitochondrial, and microsomal fractions and in two fractions of purified nuclei. Sub-fractionation of the mitochondrial fraction indicates the prevalent localization of BMD in free mitochondria and to a lesser degree in synaptosomes and myelin. Cesium density profiles of homogenate, subcellular fractions, and purified nuclei obtained after incorporation periods from 30 min to 4 h indicate that BMD synthesis takes place by reverse transcription in cytoplasmic organelles. Following the acquisition of the double-stranded structure, BMD is transferred to nuclei. Kinetic analyses lasting several weeks highlight the massive BMD turnover in subcellular fractions and purified nuclei and its dependence on age. Data are in agreement with the role of BMD as a temporary information store of cell responses of potential use in comparable forthcoming experiences.

  • Squid Giant Axons Synthesize NF Proteins.

    Publication Date: 02/05/2017 on Molecular neurobiology
    by Crispino M, Chun JT, Giuditta A
    DOI: 10.1007/s12035-017-0561-z

    Squid giant axon has been an excellent model system for studying fundamental topics in neurobiology such as neuronal signaling. It has been also useful in addressing the questions of local protein synthesis in the axons. Incubation of isolated squid giant axons with [(35)S]methionine followed by immunoprecipitation with a rabbit antibody against all squid neurofilament (NF) proteins demonstrates the local synthesis of a major 180 kDa NF protein and of several NF proteins of lower molecular weights. Their identification as NF proteins is based on their absence in the preimmune precipitates. Immunoprecipitates washed with more stringent buffers confirmed these results. Our data are at variance with a recent study based on the same experimental procedure that failed to visualize the local synthesis of NF proteins by the giant axon and thereby suggested their exclusive derivation from nerve cell bodies (as reported by Gainer et al. in Cell Mol Neurobiol 37:475-486, 2017). By reviewing the pertinent literature, we confute the claims that mRNA translation is absent in mature axons because of a putative translation block and that most proteins of mature axons are synthesized in the surrounding glial cells. Given the intrinsic axonal capacity to synthesize proteins, we stress the glial derivation of axonal and presynaptic RNAs and the related proposal that these neuronal domains are endowed with largely independent gene expression systems (as reported by Giuditta et al. in Physiol Rev 88:515-555, 2008).

  • Sleep memory processing: the sequential hypothesis.

    Publication Date: 16/12/2014 on Frontiers in systems neuroscience
    by Giuditta A
    DOI: 10.3389/fnsys.2014.00219

    According to the sequential hypothesis (SH) memories acquired during wakefulness are processed during sleep in two serial steps respectively occurring during slow wave sleep (SWS) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. During SWS memories to be retained are distinguished from irrelevant or competing traces that undergo downgrading or elimination. Processed memories are stored again during REM sleep which integrates them with preexisting memories. The hypothesis received support from a wealth of EEG, behavioral, and biochemical analyses of trained rats. Further evidence was provided by independent studies of human subjects. SH basic premises, data, and interpretations have been compared with corresponding viewpoints of the synaptic homeostatic hypothesis (SHY). Their similarities and differences are presented and discussed within the framework of sleep processing operations. SHY's emphasis on synaptic renormalization during SWS is acknowledged to underline a key sleep effect, but this cannot marginalize sleep's main role in selecting memories to be retained from downgrading traces, and in their integration with preexisting memories. In addition, SHY's synaptic renormalization raises an unsolved dilemma that clashes with the accepted memory storage mechanism exclusively based on modifications of synaptic strength. This difficulty may be bypassed by the assumption that SWS-processed memories are stored again by REM sleep in brain subnuclear quantum particles. Storing of memories in quantum particles may also occur in other vigilance states. Hints are provided on ways to subject the quantum hypothesis to experimental tests.

  • Brain synaptosomes harbor more than one cytoplasmic system of protein synthesis.

    Publication Date: 01/11/2014 on Journal of neuroscience research
    by Cefaliello C, Eyman M, Melck D, De Stefano R, Ferrara E, Crispino M, Giuditta A
    DOI: 10.1002/jnr.23435

    Synaptosomal protein synthesis from rat brain is selectively increased by learning and is massively enhanced during the recovery period from brain ischemia. To lay the groundwork for identification of the involved synaptic elements, we examined the effects induced by varying the concentrations of extracellular cations and endogenous calcium. Most of the recorded rate response curves exhibited biphasic profiles that suggested the presence of more than one translation system. Because comparable profiles were obtained by fully inhibiting mitochondrial translation, the data indicated the involvement of cytoplasmic translation systems present in different synaptosomal classes. Their properties may be individually investigated by exploiting the partially inhibited conditions we have described. The identification of the synaptic elements from which they originated and their newly synthesized proteins will significantly expand our understanding of the synaptic contribution to brain plastic events.

  • Local gene expression in nerve endings.

    Publication Date: 01/03/2014 on Developmental neurobiology
    by Crispino M, Chun JT, Cefaliello C, Perrone Capano C, Giuditta A
    DOI: 10.1002/dneu.22109

    At the Nobel lecture for physiology in 1906, Ramón y Cajal famously stated that "the nerve elements possess reciprocal relationships in contiguity but not in continuity," summing up the neuron doctrine. Sixty years later, by the time the central dogma of molecular biology formulated the axis of genetic information flow from DNA to mRNA, and then to protein, it became obvious that neurons with extensive ramifications and long axons inevitably incur an innate problem: how can the effect of gene expression be extended from the nucleus to the remote and specific sites of the cell periphery? The most straightforward solution would be to deliver soma-produced proteins to the target sites. The influential discovery of axoplasmic flow has supported this scheme of protein supply. Alternatively, mRNAs can be dispatched instead of protein, and translated locally at the strategic target sites. Over the past decades, such a local system of protein synthesis has been demonstrated in dendrites, axons, and presynaptic terminals. Moreover, the local protein synthesis in neurons might even involve intercellular trafficking of molecules. The innovative concept of glia-neuron unit suggests that the local protein synthesis in the axonal and presynaptic domain of mature neurons is sustained by a local supply of RNAs synthesized in the surrounding glial cells and transferred to these domains. Here, we have reviewed some of the evidence indicating the presence of a local system of protein synthesis in axon terminals, and have examined its regulation in various model systems.

  • BAG3 mRNA is present in synaptosomal polysomes of rat brain.

    Publication Date: 01/01/2014 on Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.)
    by Bruno AP, Cefaliello C, D'Auria R, Crispino M, Rosati A, Giuditta A, Nori SL
    DOI: 10.4161/cc.28655
  • Training old rats selectively modulates synaptosomal protein synthesis.

    Publication Date: 01/01/2013 on Journal of neuroscience research
    by Eyman M, Cefaliello C, Mandile P, Piscopo S, Crispino M, Giuditta A
    DOI: 10.1002/jnr.23133

    We have previously shown that the local synthesis of two synaptic proteins of 66.5-kDa and 87.6-kDa is selectively enhanced in male adult rats trained for a two-way active avoidance task. We report here that a comparable but not identical response occurs in 2-year-old male rats trained for the same task. In the latter age group, the local synthesis of the 66.5-kDa protein markedly increases in cerebral cortex, brainstem, and cerebellum, with a somewhat lower increment in synthesis of the 87.6-kDa protein. On the other hand, the newly synthesized 87.6-kDa protein correlates with avoidances and escapes and inversely correlates with freezings in cerebral cortex and brainstem, whereas the correlations of the newly synthesized 66.5-kDa protein remain below significance. These correlative patterns are sharply at variance with those present in trained adult rats. Our data confirm that the local system of synaptic protein synthesis is selectively modulated by training and show that the synaptic response of old rats differs from that of adult rats as reflected in behavioral responses.

  • Synaptosomal protein synthesis in P2 and Ficoll purified fractions.

    Publication Date: 30/01/2012 on Journal of neuroscience methods
    by Eyman M, Cefaliello C, Bruno AP, Crispino M, Giuditta A
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2011.10.007

    Cytoplasmic protein synthesis of brain synaptosomes has generally been determined in the Ficoll purified fraction which contains fewer contaminating mitochondria, microsomes and myelin fragments than the parent P2 fraction. Using a highly selective assay of this activity we have compared the total translation activity and the specific activity of the proteins synthesized by either fraction in control rats and in rats trained for a two-way active avoidance task. In control rats the specific activity remained essentially the same in both fractions but in trained rats the value of the Ficoll fraction was markedly lower (38.5%) than in the P2 fraction. Furthermore, the total translation activity of the Ficoll fraction was 30% lower than in the P2 fraction in control rats and 62% lower in trained rats. These decrements indicate that a large proportion of active synaptosomes present in the P2 fraction is not recovered in the Ficoll fraction, notably in rats undergoing plastic brain changes. We conclude that cytoplasmic protein synthesis of brain synaptosomes is better preserved in the P2 fraction.

  • Synaptic mRNAs are modulated by learning.

    Publication Date: 01/07/2009 on Journal of neuroscience research
    by Ferrara E, Cefaliello C, Eyman M, De Stefano R, Giuditta A, Crispino M
    DOI: 10.1002/jnr.22037

    We have recently demonstrated that brain plastic events significantly modify synaptic protein synthesis measured by the incorporation of [(35)S]methionine in brain synaptosomal proteins. Notably, in rats learning a two-way active avoidance task, the local synthesis of two synaptic proteins was selectively enhanced. Because this effect may be attributed to transcriptional modulation, we used reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction methods to determine the content of discrete synaptosomal mRNAs in rats exposed to the same training protocol. Correlative analyses between behavioral responses and synaptosomal mRNA content showed that GAT-1 mRNA (a prevalent presynaptic component) correlates with avoidances and escapes in rat cerebellum, while glial fibrillary acid protein mRNA (an astrocytic component) correlates with freezings in cerebellum and cerebral cortex. These observations support the hypothesis that synaptic protein synthesis may be transcriptionally regulated. The cellular origin of synaptic transcripts is briefly discussed, with special regard to those present at large distances from neuron somas.