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


  • Post-trial sleep sequences including transition sleep are involved in avoidance learning of adult rats.

    Publication Date: 01/07/2000 on Behavioural brain research
    by Mandile P, Vescia S, Montagnese P, Piscopo S, Cotugno M, Giuditta A

    High resolution computerized EEG analyses, and behavioral observations were used to identify slow wave sleep (SS), paradoxical sleep (PS) and transition sleep (TS) in adult male Wistar rats exposed to a session of two-way active avoidance training. Of the four sleep sequences that could be identified, two included TS (SS-->TS-->W and SS-->TS-->PS), while the other two did not (SS-->W and SS-->PS). Comparison of post-trial sleep variables between fast learning rats (FL, reaching criterion in the training session), slow learning rats (SL, reaching criterion in the retention session the following day), and non learning rats (NL, failing to reach criterion) indicated that the total amounts of SS, TS and PS of the SS-->TS-->PS sequence was markedly higher in FL rats than in SL rats. In addition, in comparison with the corresponding baseline period, the average duration and total amount of SS and TS episodes of the SS-->TS-->PS sequence increased in FL rats, while the number of SS-->TS-->W sequences decreased. On the other hand, the average duration of SS episodes increased in the SS-->TS-->W and SS-->W sequences of SL rats, and in the SS-->W and SS-->TS-->PS sequences of NL rats. Correlative analyses between number of avoidances and post-trial sleep variables demonstrated that avoidances were directly correlated with the duration of SS episodes of the SS-->TS-->PS sequence and with the duration of TS episodes of the SS-->TS-->W sequence, but inversely correlated with the number and amount of SS episodes of the SS-->W sequence and with the duration and amount of SS episodes of the SS-->PS sequence. On the whole, the data supported the view that TS-containing sleep sequences are involved in long-term storage of novel adaptive behavior, while sleep sequences lacking TS are involved in the maintenance of innate behavioral responses.

  • Protein synthesis in presynaptic endings from squid brain: modulation by calcium ions.

    Publication Date: 15/03/1999 on Journal of neuroscience research
    by Benech JC, Crispino M, Kaplan BB, Giuditta A
    DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-4547(19990315)55:6<776::AID-JNR12>3.0.CO;2-1

    Previous biochemical, autoradiographic, and ultrastructural data have shown that, in the synaptosomal fraction of the squid optic lobe, protein synthesis is largely due to the presynaptic terminals of the retinal photoreceptor neurons (Crispino et al. [1993a] Mol. Cell. Neurosci. 4:366-374; Crispino et al. [1993b] J. Neurochem. 61:1144-1146; Crispino et al. [1997] J. Neurosci. 17:7694-7702). We now report that this process is close to its maximum at the basal concentration of cytosolic Ca++, and is markedly inhibited when the concentration of this ion is either decreased or increased. This conclusion is supported by the results of experiments with: 1) compounds known to increase the level of cytosolic Ca++, such as A23187, ionomycin, thapsigargin, and caffeine; 2) compounds sequestering cytosolic calcium ions such as BAPTA-AM; and 3) agents that block the role of Ca++ as second messenger, such as TFP and W7, which inhibit calmodulin, and calphostin, which inhibits protein kinase C. We conclude that variations in the level of cytosolic Ca++ induced in presynaptic terminals by neuronal activity may contribute to the modulation of the local synthesis of protein.

  • Ribosomal RNAs synthesized by isolated squid nerves and ganglia differ from native ribosomal RNAs.

    Publication Date: 01/03/1999 on Journal of neurochemistry
    by Perrone-Capano C, Crispino M, Menichini E, Kaplan BB, Giuditta A

    The large rRNA of the squid comprises two chains that may be dissociated by heating at 65 degrees C. A single chain constitutes the small rRNA. Surprisingly, the RNAs synthesized by dissected squid fin nerves and stellate nerves and ganglia differed in size from native rRNAs and did not manifest thermal instability. Nonetheless, they resembled native rRNAs in relative abundance, subcellular distribution, lack of poly(A), and metabolic stability. In addition, newly synthesized RNA was localized in nerve and glial cells, as shown by autoradiographic analysis, and was assembled into 80S ribosomes, which supported the synthesis of neuron-specific neurofilament proteins. Following incubation of nerves and ganglia for >10 h, native rRNAs started to disappear, while two major newly synthesized RNAs progressively accumulated. As a result, after 20 h, native rRNAs were substituted by the two novel RNAs. With use of 32P-cDNA synthesized from the latter RNAs as a probe, the novel RNAs demonstrated a considerable degree of homology with native rRNA in northern analysis. Taken together, the data suggest that in dissected squid nerves and ganglia, the synthesis of native rRNAs is gradually terminated while two novel rRNAs are being synthesized, presumably as a correlate of reactive gliosis and/or neuronal degeneration/regeneration.

  • Protein synthesizing units in presynaptic and postsynaptic domains of squid neurons.

    Publication Date: 01/11/1998 on Journal of cell science
    by Martin R, Vaida B, Bleher R, Crispino M, Giuditta A

    Putative protein synthesizing domains, called plaques, are characterized in the squid giant synapse and axon and in terminals of squid photoreceptor neurons. Plaques are oval-shaped formations of about 1 microm in size, which (1) generate signals that have spectroscopic electron energy loss characteristics of ribosomes, (2) exhibit ribonuclease-sensitive binding of YOYO-1, a fluorescent RNA/DNA dye, and (3) in part hybridize with a poly(dT) oligonucleotide. In the giant synapse plaques are abundant in the postsynaptic area, but are absent in the presynaptic terminal. In the cortical layer of the optic lobes, plaques are localized in the large carrot-shaped presynaptic terminals of photoreceptor neurons, where they are surrounded by synaptic vesicles and mitochondria. Biochemical and autoradiographic data have documented that the protein synthetic activity of squid optic lobe synaptosomes is largely due to the presynaptic terminals of the photoreceptor neurons. The identification of ribosomes and poly(A+)-mRNA in the plaques indicates that these structures are sites of local protein synthesis in synaptic domains.

  • Active polysomes are present in the large presynaptic endings of the synaptosomal fraction from squid brain.

    Publication Date: 15/10/1997 on The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience
    by Crispino M, Kaplan BB, Martin R, Alvarez J, Chun JT, Benech JC, Giuditta A

    Previous data have suggested that the large nerve terminals present in the synaptosomal fraction from squid optic lobe are capable of protein synthesis (Crispino et al., 1993a,b). We have further examined this issue by comparing the translation products of synaptosomal and microsomal polysomes. Both preparations programmed an active process of translation, which was completely abolished by their previous treatment with EDTA. After immunoabsorption of the newly synthesized neurofilament (NF) proteins, the labeling ratio of the 60 and 70 kDa NF proteins was found to differ, in agreement with comparable differences obtained with intact synaptosomes. These observations indicate that the set of mRNAs translated by synaptosomes differs from that translated by nerve cell bodies. Hence, because NF proteins are neuron-specific, they support the view that the active synaptosomal polysomes are mostly localized in the large nerve terminals that represent the most abundant neuronal component of the fraction. This hypothesis was confirmed (1) by electron spectroscopic data demonstrating the presence of ribosomes and polysomes within the large nerve endings of the synaptosomal fraction, as well as in the carrot-like nerve endings of the retinal photoreceptors that constitute the only large terminals in the optic lobe, and (2) by light and high resolution autoradiography of synaptosomal samples incubated with [3H]leucine, showing that most labeled proteins are associated with the large nerve endings. This response was abolished by cycloheximide. Taken together, the data provide the first unequivocal demonstration that presynaptic nerve terminals are capable of protein synthesis.

  • Post-trial sleep in old rats trained for a two-way active avoidance task.

    Publication Date: 01/10/1997 on Physiology & behavior
    by Ambrosini MV, Bruschelli G, Mariucci G, Mandile P, Giuditta A

    Nine male Wistar rats aged 27 months were trained for a two-way active avoidance task and tested for retention the following day. At variance with young adult rats, most of which succeed in mastering the task, all old rats displayed a large majority of freezing responses throughout the training and the retention sessions, thereby confirming the condition of learning impairment of aged rats. Comparison of baseline and post-trial sleep indicated the presence of a transient, but marked, increment in the average duration and total amount of post-trial slow-wave sleep followed by waking, and of a decrease in total amount of quiet waking. On the other hand, variables of paradoxical sleep and of slow-wave sleep followed by paradoxical sleep or by transition sleep did not show significant variations. Because these sleep variables are known to undergo significant variations in learning in young adult rats, the present data confirm that the latter effects are related to memory-processing events rather than to nonspecific effects of training. An additional outcome of training consisted in a marked post-trial decrement in the number of spike-wave discharges, which are known to occur in old rats during periods of quiet waking.

  • Molecular cloning and characterization of a novel mRNA present in the squid giant axon.

    Publication Date: 15/07/1997 on Journal of neuroscience research
    by Chun JT, Gioio AE, Crispino M, Eyman M, Giuditta A, Kaplan BB

    Previously, we reported the presence of a heterogeneous population of mRNAs in the squid giant axon. The construction of a cDNA library to this mRNA population has facilitated the identification of several of the constituent mRNAs which encode several cytoskeletal and motor proteins as well as enolase, a glycolytic enzyme. In this communication, we report the isolation of a novel mRNA species (pA6) from the axonal cDNA library. The pA6 mRNA is relatively small (550 nucleotides in length) and is expressed in both nervous tissue and skeletal muscle. The axonal localization of pA6 mRNA was unequivocally established by in situ hybridization histochemistry. The results of quantitative RT-PCR analysis indicate that there are 1.8 x 10(6) molecules of pA6 mRNA (approximately 0.45 pg) in the analyzed segment of the giant axon and suggest that the level of pA6 mRNA in the axonal domain of the giant fiber system might be equal to or greater than the level present in the parental cell soma. Sequence analysis of pA6 suggests that the mRNA encodes an integral membrane protein comprising 84 amino acids. The putative protein contains a single transmembrane domain located in the middle of the molecule and a phosphate-binding loop situated near the N terminus. The C-terminal region of the protein contains two potential phosphorylation sites. These four structural motifs manifest striking similarity to domains present in the ryanodine receptor, raising the possibility that pA6 represents a cephalopod intracellular calcium release channel protein.

  • Baseline transition sleep and associated sleep episodes are related to the learning ability of rats.

    Publication Date: 01/12/1996 on Physiology & behavior
    by Vescia S, Mandile P, Montagnese P, Romano F, Cataldo G, Cotugno M, Giuditta A

    The EEGs of 18 adult male Wistar rats were recorded during a baseline session lasting 7 h (day 1). The following day, rats were trained for a 2-way active avoidance task in an automated shuttle-box. A retention test was scheduled on the third day. On the basis of the number of avoidances scored during the training and retention sessions, rats were assigned to a fast-learning group (FL; achieving criterion during the training session), a slow-learning group (SL; achieving criterion in the retention test session), and a nonlearning group (NL; failing to achieve criterion). Vigilance states were determined by analyzing EEG data in 5-s epochs and calculating EEG power spectra of consecutive time intervals as short as 1 s. This high-resolution method led to the identification of transition sleep episodes that followed slow-wave sleep (SS) and were followed by waking (TS-->W) or by paradoxical sleep (TS-->PS). Comparison of the baseline sleep variables of the 3 behavioral groups revealed the presence of several significant differences. These observations were confirmed by the results of correlative analyses between baseline sleep variables and number of avoidances scored during the training and retention sessions. The most reliable indices of the capacity to learn the avoidance task were the amounts of SS preceding the TS-->W or the TS-->PS sequence, and the amounts of either component of the latter sequence. These variables displayed markedly higher values in FL rats. In addition, the amount of SS preceding TS-->W and the amount of TS-->(W) were significantly correlated with the number of avoidances scored during the training session. On the other hand, 1' SS-->(PS) and (SS)-->PS episodes were longer in NL rats than in SL or FL rats, respectively; and 2, the duration of SS-->(PS) episodes was inversely correlated with the number of avoidances of the first training period. The data are interpreted to suggest that TS and associated sleep episodes may predict the acquisition of the avoidance task, and the episodes of SS-->PS not associated with TS may predict the retention of innate responses, such as freezings or escapes.

  • Differential compartmentalization of mRNAs in squid giant axon.

    Publication Date: 01/11/1996 on Journal of neurochemistry
    by Chun JT, Gioio AE, Crispino M, Giuditta A, Kaplan BB

    Previously, we reported that the squid giant axon contains a heterogeneous population of mRNAs that includes beta-actin, beta-tubulin, kinesin, neurofilament proteins, and enolase. To define the absolute levels and relative distribution of these mRNAs, we have used competitive reverse transcription-PCR to quantify the levels of five mRNAs present in the giant axon and giant fiber lobe (GFL), the location of the parental cell soma. In the GFL, the number of transcripts for these mRNAs varied over a fourfold range, with beta-tubulin being the most abundant mRNA species (1.25 x 10(9) molecules per GFL). Based on transcript number, the rank order of mRNA levels in the GFL was beta-tubulin > beta-actin > kinesin > enolase > microtubule-associated protein (MAP) H1. In contrast, kinesin mRNA was most abundant in the axon (4.1 x 10(7) molecules per axon) with individual mRNA levels varying 15-fold. The rank order of mRNA levels in the axon was kinesin > beta-tubulin > MAP H1 > beta-actin > enolase. The relative abundance of the mRNA species in the axon did not correlate with the size of the transcript, nor was it directly related to their corresponding levels in the GFL. Taken together, these findings confirm that significant amounts of mRNA are present in the giant axon and suggest that specific mRNAs are differentially transported into the axonal domain.

  • Protein synthesis in the presynaptic endings of the squid photoreceptor neuron: in vitro and in vivo modulation.

    Publication Date: 01/10/1996 on The Biological bulletin
    by Benech JC, Crispino M, Martin R, Alvarez J, Kaplan BB, Giuditta A
    DOI: 10.1086/BBLv191n2p263