Concetta Giancola

Professor of Physical Chemistry

Name Concetta
Surname Giancola
Institution University of Naples – Federico II
Address Department of Pharmacy, University of Napoli Federico II, Via D. Montesano 49, 80131, Napoli, Italy; InterUniversity Center for Research in Neurosciences, University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli", Napoli, Italy
Concetta Giancola


  • Preparation and characterization of geodin. A betagamma-crystallin-type protein from a sponge.

    Publication Date: 01/02/2005 on The FEBS journal
    by Giancola C, Pizzo E, Di Maro A, Cubellis MV, D'Alessio G
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2004.04536.x

    Geodin is a protein encoded by a sponge gene homologous to genes from the betagamma-crystallins superfamily. The interest for this crystallin-type protein stems from the phylogenesis of porifera, commonly called sponges, the earliest divergence event in the history of metazoans. Here we report the preparation of geodin as a recombinant protein from Escherichia coli, its characterization through physico-chemical analyses, and a model of its 3D structure based on homology modelling. Geodin is a monomeric protein of about 18 kDa, with an all-beta structure, as all other crystallins in the superfamily, but more prone to unfold in the presence of chemical denaturants, when compared with other homologues from the superfamily. Its thermal unfolding, studied by far- and near-CD, and by calorimetry, is described by a two-state model. Geodin appears to be structurally similar in many respects to the bacterial protein S crystallin, with which it also shares a significant, albeit more modest stabilizing effect exerted by calcium ions. These results suggest that the crystallin-type structural scaffold, employed in the evolution of bacteria and moulds, was successfully recruited very early in the evolution of metazoa.

  • Molecular modeling studies of a parallel stranded quadruplexes containing a 8-bromoadenosine.

    Publication Date: 01/01/2005 on Nucleosides, nucleotides & nucleic acids
    by Esposito V, Randazzo A, Petraccone L, Giancola C, Erra E, Virgilio A, Mayol L

    Truncated sequences of human telomeric DNA can readily assemble to form parallel stranded quadruplexes containing A- and G-tetrads. The formation of an A-tetrad is highly context-dependent and the relationship between the formation of an A-tetrad and the glycosidic torsion angle of the adenosine residues implicated has not been completely clarified so far. In order to give a further insight in this issue we synthesized the modified oligomers d(ABrGGGT) and d(TABrGGGT), two different truncations of the human telomeric sequence containing a 8-bromoadenosine residue, named ABr. NMR data show that both the modified oligomers are able to perfectly fold into highly symmetric quadruplexes with all strands parallel to each other. Molecular modeling studies were performed on both [d(ABrGGGT)]4 and [d(TABrGGGT)]4, indicating that a bulky substituent, such as a bromine atom at the C8 position of adenines, can force the glycosidic bond to adopt a syn conformation, stabilizing the resulting quadruplexes.

  • Relative stability of quadruplexes containing different number of G-tetrads.

    Publication Date: 01/01/2005 on Nucleosides, nucleotides & nucleic acids
    by Petraccone L, Erra E, Duro I, Esposito V, Randazzo A, Mayol L, Mattia CA, Barone G, Giancola C

    The aim of this work is to compare the physicochemical properties of three oligonucleotidic sequences, d(TGGGT), d(TGGGGT) and d(TGGGGGT), which assemble to form quadruplex structures with the same molecularity, but containing three, four, and five G-quartets, respectively. The addition of one or two G-tetrads greatly increases both the enthalpy and Tm values of the quadruplex dissociation.

  • Interaction of porphyrin with G-quadruplex structures.

    Publication Date: 01/01/2005 on Nucleosides, nucleotides & nucleic acids
    by Erra E, Petraccone L, Esposito V, Randazzo A, Mayol L, Ladbury J, Barone G, Giancola C

    Isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) is a sensitive technique for probing bimolecular processes and can provide direct information about the binding affinity and stoichiometry and the key thermodynamic parameters involved. ITC has been used to investigate the interaction of the ligand H2TMPyP to the two DNA quadruplexes, [d(AGGGT)]4 and [d(TGGGGT)]. Analysis of the ITC data reveals that porphyrin/quadruplex binding stoichiometry under saturating conditions is 1:2 for [d(AGGGT)]4 and 2:1 for [d(TGGGGT)], respectively.

  • Linkage of proton binding to the thermal dissociation of triple helix complex.

    Publication Date: 01/07/2004 on Biophysical chemistry
    by Petraccone L, Erra E, Mattia CA, Fedullo V, Barone G, Giancola C
    DOI: 10.1016/j.bpc.2004.01.004

    The effects of cytosine protonation on the thermodynamic properties of parallel pyrimidine motif DNA triplex were investigated and characterized by different techniques, such as circular dichroism (CD), ultraviolet spectroscopy (UV) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). A thermodynamic model was developed which, by linking the cytosine ionization equilibrium to the dissociation process of the triplex, is able to rationalize the experimental data and to reproduce the pH dependence of the free energy, enthalpy and entropy changes associated with the triplex formation. The results are useful to systematically introduce the effect of pH in a more general model able to predict the stability of DNA triplexes on the basis of the sequence alone.

  • Stability and structure of telomeric DNA sequences forming quadruplexes containing four G-tetrads with different topological arrangements.

    Publication Date: 27/04/2004 on Biochemistry
    by Petraccone L, Erra E, Esposito V, Randazzo A, Mayol L, Nasti L, Barone G, Giancola C
    DOI: 10.1021/bi0300985

    Telomeres are DNA-protein structures at the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes, the DNA of which comprise noncoding repeats of guanine-rich sequences. Telomeric DNA plays a fundamental role in protecting the cell from recombination and degradation. Telomeric sequences can form quadruplex structures stabilized by guanine quartets. These structures can be constructed from one, two, or four oligonucleotidic strands. Here, we report the thermodynamic characterization of the stability, analyzed by differential scanning calorimetry, of three DNA quadruplexes of different molecularity, all containing four G-tetrads. The conformational properties of these quadruple helices were studied by circular dichroism. The investigated oligomers form well-defined G-quadruplex structures in the presence of sodium ions. Two have the truncated telomeric sequence from Oxytricha, d(TGGGGT) and d(GGGGTTTTGGGG), which form a tetramolecular and bimolecular quadruplex, respectively. The third sequence, d(GGGGTTGGGGTGTGGGGTTGGGG) was designed to form a unimolecular quadruplex. The thermodynamic parameters of these quadruplexes have been determined. The tetramolecular structure is thermodynamically more stable than the bimolecular one, which, in turn, is more stable than the unimolecular one. The experimental data were discussed in light of the molecular-modeling study.

  • Targeting duplex DNA with DNA-PNA chimeras? Physico-chemical characterization of a triplex DNA-PNA/DNA/DNA.

    Publication Date: 01/03/2004 on Biopolymers
    by Petraccone L, Erra E, Messere A, Montesarchio D, Piccialli G, De Napoli L, Barone G, Giancola C
    DOI: 10.1002/bip.10599

    Targeting double-stranded DNA with homopyrimidine PNAs results in strand displacement complexes PNA/DNA/PNA rather than PNA/DNA/DNA triplex structures. Not much is known about the binding properties of DNA-PNA chimeras. A 16-mer 5'-DNA-3'-p-(N)PNA(C) has been investigated for its ability to hybridize a complementary duplex DNA by DSC, CD, and molecular modeling studies. The obtained results showed the formation of a triplex structure having similar, if not slightly higher, stability compared to the same all-DNA complex.

  • Effects of an 8-bromodeoxyguanosine incorporation on the parallel quadruplex structure [d(TGGGT)]4.

    Publication Date: 07/02/2004 on Organic & biomolecular chemistry
    by Esposito V, Randazzo A, Piccialli G, Petraccone L, Giancola C, Mayol L
    DOI: 10.1039/b314672c

    NMR, molecular dynamics and mechanics calculations, and CD spectroscopy were used to characterise three tetramolecular quadruplex complexes: [d(TG(Br)GGT)](4), [d(TGG(Br)GT)](4) and [d(TGGG(Br)T)](4), where G(Br) indicates an 8-bromoguanine residue. All three quadruplexes are characterised by a 4-fold symmetry with all strands parallel to each other and, differently to what has been observed for other parallel quadruplex structures, with a tetrad (formed by 8-Br-dGs) in a syn conformation. The whole of the data demonstrates that the replacement in turn of different dG residues with 8-Br-dG in the sequence 5[prime or minute]-TGGGT-3[prime or minute] affects the resulting structures in different ways, leading to different CD profiles and thermal stabilities. Particularly, [d(TG(Br)GGT)](4) and [d(TGG(Br)GT)](4) are more stable than the unmodified sequence, whereas [d(TGGG(Br)T)](4) is much less stable than the natural counterpart. The conformational features found in the three quadruplexes might, in principle, amplify the range of applicability of synthetic oligonucleotides as aptamers or catalysts, by providing novel structural motifs with different molecular recognition capabilities from those of native DNA sequences.

  • 1H-NMR study of the quadruplex [d(TGGGT)]4 containing a modified thymine.

    Publication Date: 01/05/2003 on Nucleosides, nucleotides & nucleic acids
    by Petraccone L, Erra E, Nasti L, Galeone A, Randazzo A, Esposito V, Mayol L, Barone G, Giancola C
    DOI: 10.1081/NCN-120023111

    A NMR structural study of quadruplex [d(TGGGT)]4 containing a modified thymine is reported. The three dimensional structure of the complex is very similar to those of other parallel stranded quadruplexes. The modified thymines (T*) are able, at least in the minimised structures, to form a tetrad containing extra H-bonds through the hydroxyl groups. Nevertheless, in this new tetrad the modified thymines are slightly open towards the solvent respect to the unmodified T-tetrad.

  • Synthesis and DNA binding properties of DNA-PNA chimeras.

    Publication Date: 01/05/2003 on Nucleosides, nucleotides & nucleic acids
    by Barone G, De Napoli L, Di Fabio G, Erra E, Giancola C, Messere A, Montesarchio D, Petraccone L, Piccialli G
    DOI: 10.1081/NCN-120022743

    A systematic study to evaluate the ability of 5'-DNA-3'-p-(N)-PNA-(C) chimeras to form triple helix structures has been undertaken. Preliminary results carried out on a 16-mer chimera with three PNA monomers at the 3'-end showed the formation of a stable DNA-PNA/DNA/DNA triplex, having similar conformational behaviour to a canonical DNA/DNA/DNA triplex.