Elzbieta Janda

Researcher of Molecular Biology

Name Elzbieta
Surname Janda
Institution University Magna Graecia, Catanzaro
Telephone +39 0961 369 4143
E-Mail janda@unicz.it
Address Department of Health Sciences University Magna Graecia, Catanzaro Campus Germaneto Edificio Bioscienze, livello 5 88100 Catanzaro, Italy
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Elzbieta Janda


  • Parkinsonian toxin-induced oxidative stress inhibits basal autophagy in astrocytes via NQO2/quinone oxidoreductase 2: Implications for neuroprotection.

    Publication Date: 01/01/2015 on Autophagy
    by Janda E, Lascala A, Carresi C, Parafati M, Aprigliano S, Russo V, Savoia C, Ziviani E, Musolino V, Morani F, Isidoro C, Mollace V
    DOI: 10.1080/15548627.2015.1058683

    Oxidative stress (OS) stimulates autophagy in different cellular systems, but it remains controversial if this rule can be generalized. We have analyzed the effect of chronic OS induced by the parkinsonian toxin paraquat (PQ) on autophagy in astrocytoma cells and primary astrocytes, which represent the first cellular target of neurotoxins in the brain. PQ decreased the basal levels of LC3-II and LC3-positive vesicles, and its colocalization with lysosomal markers, both in the absence and presence of chloroquine. This was paralleled by increased number and size of SQSTM1/p62 aggregates. Downregulation of autophagy was also observed in cells chronically exposed to hydrogen peroxide or nonlethal concentrations of PQ, and it was associated with a reduced astrocyte capability to protect dopaminergic cells from OS in co-cultures. Surprisingly, PQ treatment led to inhibition of MTOR, activation of MAPK8/JNK1 and MAPK1/ERK2-MAPK3/ERK1 and upregulation of BECN1/Beclin 1 expression, all signals typically correlating with induction of autophagy. Reduction of OS by NMDPEF, a specific NQO2 inhibitor, but not by N-acetylcysteine, abrogated the inhibitory effect of PQ and restored autophagic flux. Activation of NQO2 by PQ or menadione and genetic manipulation of its expression confirmed the role of this enzyme in the inhibitory action of PQ on autophagy. PQ did not induce NFE2L2/NRF2, but when it was co-administered with NMDPEF NFE2L2 activity was enhanced in a SQSTM1-independent fashion. Thus, a prolonged OS in astrocytes inhibits LC3 lipidation and impairs autophagosome formation and autophagic flux, in spite of concomitant activation of several pro-autophagic signals. These findings outline an unanticipated neuroprotective role of astrocyte autophagy and identify in NQO2 a novel pharmacological target for its positive modulation.

  • Bergamot polyphenolic fraction enhances rosuvastatin-induced effect on LDL-cholesterol, LOX-1 expression and protein kinase B phosphorylation in patients with hyperlipidemia.

    Publication Date: 10/12/2013 on International journal of cardiology
    by Gliozzi M, Walker R, Muscoli S, Vitale C, Gratteri S, Carresi C, Musolino V, Russo V, Janda E, Ragusa S, Aloe A, Palma E, Muscoli C, Romeo F, Mollace V
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2013.08.125

    Statins are the most commonly prescribed drugs to reduce cardiometabolic risk. Besides the well-known efficacy of such compounds in both preventing and treating cardiometabolic disorders, some patients experience statin-induced side effects. We hypothesize that the use of natural bergamot-derived polyphenols may allow patients undergoing statin treatment to reduce effective doses while achieving target lipid values. The aim of the present study is to investigate the occurrence of an enhanced effect of bergamot-derived polyphenolic fraction (BPF) on rosuvastatin-induced hypolipidemic and vasoprotective response in patients with mixed hyperlipidemia.

  • The antidote effect of quinone oxidoreductase 2 inhibitor against paraquat-induced toxicity in vitro and in vivo.

    Publication Date: 01/01/2013 on British journal of pharmacology
    by Janda E, Parafati M, Aprigliano S, Carresi C, Visalli V, Sacco I, Ventrice D, Mega T, Vadalá N, Rinaldi S, Musolino V, Palma E, Gratteri S, Rotiroti D, Mollace V
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2012.01870.x

    BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE The mechanisms of paraquat (PQ)-induced toxicity are poorly understood and PQ poisoning is often fatal due to a lack of effective antidotes. In this study we report the effects of N-[2-(2-methoxy-6H-dipyrido{2,3-a:3,2-e}pyrrolizin-11-yl)ethyl]-2-furamide (NMDPEF), a melatonin-related inhibitor of quinone oxidoreductase2 (QR2) on the toxicity of PQ in vitro & in vivo. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH Prevention of PQ-induced toxicity was tested in different cells, including primary pneumocytes and astroglial U373 cells. Cell death and reactive oxygen species (ROS) were analysed by flow cytometry and fluorescent probes. QR2 silencing was achieved by lentiviral shRNAs. PQ (30 mg·kg(-1)) and NMDPEF were administered i.p. to Wistar rats and animals were monitored for 28 days. PQ toxicity in the substantia nigra (SN) was tested by a localized microinfusion and electrocorticography. QR2 activity was measured by fluorimetry of N-benzyldihydronicotinamide oxidation. KEY RESULTS NMDPEF potently antagonized non-apoptotic PQ-induced cell death, ROS generation and inhibited cellular QR2 activity. In contrast, the cytoprotective effect of melatonin and apocynin was limited and transient compared with NMDPEF. Silencing of QR2 attenuated PQ-induced cell death and reduced the efficacy of NMDPEF. Significantly, NMDPEF (4.5 mg·kg(-1)) potently antagonized PQ-induced systemic toxicity and animal mortality. Microinfusion of NMDPEF into SN prevented severe behavioural and electrocortical effects of PQ which correlated with inhibition of malondialdehyde accumulation in cells and tissues. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS NMDPEF protected against PQ-induced toxicity in vitro and in vivo, suggesting a key role for QR2 in the regulation of oxidative stress.

  • Defective autophagy in Parkinson's disease: role of oxidative stress.

    Publication Date: 01/12/2012 on Molecular neurobiology
    by Janda E, Isidoro C, Carresi C, Mollace V
    DOI: 10.1007/s12035-012-8318-1

    Parkinson's disease (PD) is a paradigmatic example of neurodegenerative disorder with a critical role of oxidative stress in its etiopathogenesis. Genetic susceptibility factors of PD, such as mutations in Parkin, PTEN-induced kinase 1, and DJ-1 as well as the exposure to pesticides and heavy metals, both contribute to altered redox balance and degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra. Dysregulation of autophagy, a lysosomal-driven process of self degradation of cellular organelles and protein aggregates, is also implicated in PD and PD-related mutations, and environmental toxins deregulate autophagy. However, experimental evidence suggests a complex and ambiguous role of autophagy in PD since either impaired or abnormally upregulated autophagic flux has been shown to cause neuronal loss. Finally, it is generally believed that oxidative stress is a strong proautophagic stimulus. However, some evidence coming from neurobiology as well as from other fields indicate an inhibitory role of reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species on the autophagic machinery. This review examines the scientific evidence supporting different concepts on how autophagy is dysregulated in PD and attempts to reconcile apparently contradictory views on the role of oxidative stress in autophagy regulation. The complex relationship between autophagy and oxidative stress is also considered in the context of the ongoing search for a novel PD therapy.

  • The protective effect of tianeptine on Gp120-induced apoptosis in astroglial cells: role of GS and NOS, and NF-κB suppression.

    Publication Date: 01/11/2011 on British journal of pharmacology
    by Janda E, Visalli V, Colica C, Aprigliano S, Musolino V, Vadalà N, Muscoli C, Sacco I, Iannone M, Rotiroti D, Spedding M, Mollace V
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.01172.x

    Tianeptine is an antidepressant affecting the glutamatergic system. In spite of its proven clinical efficacy, molecular effects of tianeptine are not entirely clear. Tianeptine modulates cytokine expression in the CNS and protects the hippocampus from chronic stress effects. HIV infection is associated with inflammation and neuronal loss, causing HIV-associated dementia (HAD). The human immunodeficiency virus type-1 glycoprotein gp120 has been proposed as a likely aetiological agent of HAD. In this study, we determined whether tianeptine protects astroglial cells from the neurodegenerative effects of gp120.

  • Btk regulation in human and mouse B cells via protein kinase C phosphorylation of IBtkγ.

    Publication Date: 16/06/2011 on Blood
    by Janda E, Palmieri C, Pisano A, Pontoriero M, Iaccino E, Falcone C, Fiume G, Gaspari M, Nevolo M, Di Salle E, Rossi A, De Laurentiis A, Greco A, Di Napoli D, Verheij E, Britti D, Lavecchia L, Quinto I, Scala G
    DOI: 10.1182/blood-2010-09-308080

    The inhibitor of Bruton tyrosine kinase γ (IBtkγ) is a negative regulator of the Bruton tyrosine kinase (Btk), which plays a major role in B-cell differentiation; however, the mechanisms of IBtkγ-mediated regulation of Btk are unknown. Here we report that B-cell receptor (BCR) triggering caused serine-phosphorylation of IBtkγ at protein kinase C consensus sites and dissociation from Btk. By liquid chromatography and mass-mass spectrometry and functional analysis, we identified IBtkγ-S87 and -S90 as the critical amino acid residues that regulate the IBtkγ binding affinity to Btk. Consistently, the mutants IBtkγ carrying S87A and S90A mutations bound constitutively to Btk and down-regulated Ca(2+) fluxes and NF-κB activation on BCR triggering. Accordingly, spleen B cells from Ibtkγ(-/-) mice showed an increased activation of Btk, as evaluated by Y551-phosphorylation and sustained Ca(2+) mobilization on BCR engagement. These findings identify a novel pathway of Btk regulation via protein kinase C phosphorylation of IBtkγ.

  • Hypolipemic and hypoglycaemic activity of bergamot polyphenols: from animal models to human studies.

    Publication Date: 01/04/2011 on Fitoterapia
    by Mollace V, Sacco I, Janda E, Malara C, Ventrice D, Colica C, Visalli V, Muscoli S, Ragusa S, Muscoli C, Rotiroti D, Romeo F
    DOI: 10.1016/j.fitote.2010.10.014

    Bergamot juice produces hypolipemic activity in rats though the mechanism remains unclear. Here we investigated on the effect of bergamot extract (BPF) in diet-induced hyperlipemia in Wistar rats and in 237 patients suffering from hyperlipemia either associated or not with hyperglycaemia. BPF, given orally for 30 days to both rats and patients, reduces total and LDL cholesterol levels (an effect accompanied by elevation of cHDL), triglyceride levels and by a significant decrease in blood glucose. Moreover, BPF inhibited HMG-CoA reductase activity and enhanced reactive vasodilation thus representing an efficient phytotherapeutic approach in combating hyperlipemic and hyperglycaemic disorders.

  • Protein kinase C-dependent alpha-secretory processing of the amyloid precursor protein is mediated by phosphorylation of myosin II-B.

    Publication Date: 01/04/2009 on FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
    by Argellati F, Domenicotti C, Passalacqua M, Janda E, Melloni E, Marinari UM, Pronzato MA, Ricciarelli R
    DOI: 10.1096/fj.08-119263

    A substantial body of evidence indicates that protein kinase C (PKC) is involved in the alpha-secretory processing of the amyloid precursor protein (APP), an event that reduces the formation of the pathogenic amyloid-beta peptide. Recently, we have shown that trafficking and processing of APP are both impaired by knockdown of myosin II-B, one of the major neuronal motor proteins. Here, we provide evidence that the alpha-secretory processing of APP is mediated by PKC-dependent phosphorylation of myosin II-B. This signaling pathway provides an important link between APP and the neuronal cytoskeleton and might be crucial for the understanding of the biological and pathological roles of APP.

  • Physical and functional characterization of the genetic locus of IBtk, an inhibitor of Bruton's tyrosine kinase: evidence for three protein isoforms of IBtk.

    Publication Date: 01/08/2008 on Nucleic acids research
    by Spatuzza C, Schiavone M, Di Salle E, Janda E, Sardiello M, Fiume G, Fierro O, Simonetta M, Argiriou N, Faraonio R, Capparelli R, Quinto I, Scala G
    DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkn413

    Bruton's tyrosine kinase (Btk) is required for B-cell development. Btk deficiency causes X-linked agammaglobulinemia (XLA) in humans and X-linked immunodeficiency (Xid) in mice. Btk lacks a negative regulatory domain and may rely on cytoplasmic proteins to regulate its activity. Consistently, we identified an inhibitor of Btk, IBtk, which binds to the PH domain of Btk and down-regulates the Btk kinase activity. IBtk is an evolutionary conserved protein encoded by a single genomic sequence at 6q14.1 cytogenetic location, a region of recurrent chromosomal aberrations in lymphoproliferative disorders; however, the physical and functional organization of IBTK is unknown. Here, we report that the human IBTK locus includes three distinct mRNAs arising from complete intron splicing, an additional polyadenylation signal and a second transcription start site that utilizes a specific ATG for protein translation. By northern blot, 5'RACE and 3'RACE we identified three IBTKalpha, IBTKbeta and IBTKgamma mRNAs, whose transcription is driven by two distinct promoter regions; the corresponding IBtk proteins were detected in human cells and mouse tissues by specific antibodies. These results provide the first characterization of the human IBTK locus and may assist in understanding the in vivo function of IBtk.

  • Raf plus TGFbeta-dependent EMT is initiated by endocytosis and lysosomal degradation of E-cadherin.

    Publication Date: 16/11/2006 on Oncogene
    by Janda E, Nevolo M, Lehmann K, Downward J, Beug H, Grieco M
    DOI: 10.1038/sj.onc.1209701

    Oncogenic Ras interferes with adhesive functions of epithelial cells, but requires tumor growth factor beta (TGFbeta) signaling to cause epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and tumor progression in model systems. To investigate the mechanisms by which Ras and TGFbeta pathways cooperate in EMT induction, we introduced a tamoxifen-inducible version of Raf-1 (RafER) into fully polarized, mammary epithelial cells (EpH4). EMT characterized by loss of E-cadherin expression and upregulation of invasiveness-promoting genes was induced by TGFbeta plus 4-hydroxytamoxifen (4HT) activation of RafER. Downregulation of E-cadherin by RafER plus TGFbeta was detectable in total cell lysates after 48 h and much earlier in detergent-insoluble fractions of E-cadherin. Both pathways cooperated to strongly enhance endocytosis of E-cadherin, mainly via the clathrin-dependent route. Pulse-chase experiments showed decreased E-cadherin protein stability in cells stimulated with TGFbeta and 4HT and increased E-cadherin half-life in the presence of monensin. Monensin and chloroquine prevented E-cadherin degradation to different extent, but only monensin effectively blocked the loss of E-cadherin from the junctional complexes. Both lysosome inhibitors caused accumulation of E-cadherin vesicles, some of which were positive for Cathepsin D and lysosome-associated membrane protein 1 (LAMP-1). In addition, TGFbeta and mitogen-activated protein kinase hyperactivation synergistically induced E-cadherin ubiquitination, suggesting that the cooperation of Raf and TGFbeta favors lysosomal degradation of E-cadherin instead of its recycling. Our data indicate that early stages of EMT involve cooperative, post-translational downregulation of E-cadherin, whereas loss of E-cadherin via transcriptional repression is a late event in EMT.