Maria Luisa Balestrieri

Professor of Biochemistry

Name Maria Luisa
Surname Balestrieri
Institution Università degli Studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli
Address Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and General Pathology, University of Campania "L. Vanvitelli", Via L. De Crecchio 7, 80138 Naples, Italy
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Maria Luisa Balestrieri


  • Differential regulation of three catalytic activities of platelet-activating factor (PAF)-dependent transacetylase.

    Publication Date: 01/03/2001 on Archives of biochemistry and biophysics
    by Lee T, Malone B, Longobardi L, Balestrieri ML

    We have previously established that PAF-dependent transacetylase (TA) purified to apparent homogeneity from rat kidney membranes and cytosol contains three separate catalytic activities, namely PAF lysophospholipid transacetylase (TAL), PAF sphingosine transacetylase (TAS), and PAF acetylhydrolase (AH). In the present investigation, we studied the biochemical factors and mechanism(s) that differentially regulate these three TA activities of the purified enzymes. We found that only the TAS activity of the TA purified from the membranes was stimulated by phosphatidyl-serine (PS) with optimal concentration of activation occurring at 25 microM. Other acidic phospholipids, such as phosphatidylinositol (PI) and phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate (PIP), are partially effective, while diacylglycerol and free fatty acids had no effect on the TAS activity. PS exerted its effect on the TAS activity through the increases of both Km and Vmax. In addition, N-ethylmalimide (NEM) and dithiobis-(2-nitro-5-thiobenzoic acid) (DTNB) strongly inhibited the TAS activity and partially decreased the TAL and AH activities of the purified membrane enzyme in a dose-dependent manner. The addition of PS, but not by its substrate, sphingosine, could prevented the inhibition by NEM on the basal level of TAS. On the other hand, the inhibition of TAL by NEM and DTNB were partially protected by the substrate, lysoplasmalogens. Furthermore, PAF fully protects the inhibition of AH, partially protects the inhibition of TAL, and does not protect the inhibition of TAS by NEM. These results suggested that the three individual catalytic activities of TA have different dependencies on the thiol-containing residue(s) of the enzyme, i.e., cysteine. Furthermore, the nonresponsiveness of the purified cytosolic TAS to PS activation is consistent with our previous notions that membrane and cytosolic TA are posttranslationally distinct.

  • Regulation of the biosynthesis of acyl analogs of platelet-activating factor by purinergic agonist in endothlial cells.

    Publication Date: 11/08/2000 on FEBS letters
    by Balestrieri ML, Lee T

    We have previously shown that platelet-activating factor (PAF)-dependent transacetylase (TA) contains three catalytic activities, namely PAF: lysophospholipid TA (TAL), PAF: sphingosine TA (TAs) and PAF acetylhydrolase. It serves as a modifier of PAF actions by producing different lipid signal molecules. The TAL activity is involved in the biosynthesis of acyl analogs of PAF (acyl-PAF, 1-acyl-2-acetyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine, acylacetyl-GPC) in agonist-stimulated endothelial cells. In the present investigation, we have studied the mechanism(s) by which the TA activity is regulated in ATP-treated endothelial cells. We have demonstrated that ATP, and thiol-modifying agents with ATP, specifically regulate only the TAL part of the TA activities.

  • 2-aminoanthracene as an analytical tool with the acetylation reaction catalyzed by arylamine N-acetyltransferase.

    Publication Date: 15/08/1999 on Analytical biochemistry
    by Servillo L, Balestrieri C, Boccellino M, Balestrieri ML, Quagliuolo L, Giovane A
    DOI: 10.1006/abio.1999.4200

    The polynuclear aromatic amine, 2-aminoanthracene, was found to be acetylated with high efficiency in the presence of acetyl-CoA by pigeon liver arylamine N-acetyltransferase (EC As a consequence of acetylation the fluorescence properties of the compound dramatically change and the reaction time course can be easily followed fluorometrically at the emission wavelength of 425 nm upon excitation at 360 nm. When 2-aminoanthracene is employed with pigeon arylamine N-acetyltransferase, as the ultimate acceptor of the acetyl group in coupled fluorometric assays, it is possible to measure enzymatic activities, such as pyruvate dehydrogenase or carnitine acetyltransferase, in continuous assays rapidly and with high sensitivity or to determine with as much sensitivity important metabolites such as acetylcarnitine or acetyl-CoA.

  • Types of purinoceptors and phospholipase A2 involved in the activation of the platelet-activating factor-dependent transacetylase activity and arachidonate release by ATP in endothelial cells.

    Publication Date: 01/08/1998 on Prostaglandins & other lipid mediators
    by Balestrieri ML, Malik KU, Balestrieri C, Lee TC

    Acyl analogs of PAF are the major products synthesized during agonist stimulation of endothelial cells. We have previously shown that PAF: 1-acyl-2-lyso-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine transacetylase in calf pulmonary artery endothelial cells is activated by ATP through protein phosphorylation, and the increase in transacetylase activity by ATP contributes to the biosynthesis of acyl analogs of PAF (J. Biol. Chem. 272, 17431-17437, 1997). To understand the mechanisms(s) by which ATP stimulates acyl analogs of PAF production, we have identified the subtypes of the purinergic receptor that are linked to the activation of two enzymes involved in the generation of acyl analogs of PAF, namely, transacetylase and phospholipase A2. Experiments with transient transfection of the cells with antisense and sense thio-oligonucleotide to cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2) were also performed to evaluate whether downstream activation of cPLA2 is involved in ATP-receptor mediated induction of arachidonate release and synthesis of radylacetyl-GPC. We found that the P2u/P2Y2 receptor, which recognizes a pyrimidine nucleotide, UTP, as well as purine nucleotides, shows a potency profile of UTP > ATP = ATP gamma S > 2-methylthio-ATP in mediating the activation of PAF: lysophospholipid transacetylase. On the other hand, ADP beta S and 2-methylthio-ATP have similar potencies as ATP but have lower potencies than UTP and ATP gamma S in stimulating the release of arachidonate. These results suggest that both P2u/P2Y2 and P2y/P2Y1 receptor subtypes promote arachidonate release. In addition, transient transfection of endothelial cells with cPLA2 antisense but not the sense thio-oligonucleotide inhibited the stimulation of arachidonate release and [3H]acetate incorporation into radyl[3H]acetyl-GPC. Thus, our data suggest that a receptor-mediated process is involved in the activation of transacetylase for the induced synthesis of acyl analogs of PAF in endothelial cells. Furthermore, it is likely that cPLA2 supplies the lysophospholipids as substrates for the transacetylation reaction.

  • The role of platelet-activating factor-dependent transacetylase in the biosynthesis of 1-acyl-2-acetyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine by stimulated endothelial cells.

    Publication Date: 11/07/1997 on The Journal of biological chemistry
    by Balestrieri ML, Servillo L, Lee T

    Acyl analogs of platelet-activating factor (PAF) (1-acyl-2-acetyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine, acylacetyl -GPC) are the predominant products synthesized during thrombin or ionophore A23187-mediated activation of endothelial cells. However, the biosynthetic pathway responsible for the production of acylacetyl-GPC is not well understood. In the present investigation, we have demonstrated that the acyl analogs of PAF are also the major products from calf pulmonary artery endothelial cells in response to a time-dependent stimulation of ATP (10(-3) M), bradykinin (10(-8) M), or ionophore A23187 (2 microM). In addition, we have found that the CoA-independent PAF:acyllyso-GPC transacetylase recently identified by us is concurrently and transiently induced with maximal 4-fold enhancement at 5 min and returned to near basal level by 10 min treatment of endothelial cells with ATP. Acid phosphatase reduces the increased PAF:acyllyso-GPC transacetylase activity from the homogenates of ATP-activated endothelial cells. Reduced PAF:acyllyso-GPC transacetylase activity can be restored by incubating the acid phosphatase-treated homogenates with ATP (5 mM) and Mg2+ (10 mM). Furthermore, okadaic acid, a protein phosphatase 1 and 2A inhibitor, incubated with endothelial cells in a dose-dependent manner (1-100 nM) for 10-min potentiates and sustained the stimulation of PAF:acyllyso-GPC transacetylase activity by ATP. On the other hand, genistein, tyrphostin-25 (inhibitors of tyrosine-specific protein kinase), and calphostin C (an inhibitor of protein kinase C) block the activation of PAF:acyllyso-GPC transacetylase by ATP. These results are consistent with the notion that ATP regulates the transacetylase activity by reversible activation and inactivation via the phosphorylation and dephosphorylation cycle. ATP also augments the activities of alkyllyso-GPC/acyllyso-GPC:acetyl-CoA acetyltransferase. However, the activation of the acetyltransferases precedes that of the transacetylase with peak activation occurring at 1-2 min of the ATP treatment. In addition, sodium vanadate, also an inhibitor of protein phosphatase, stimulates the increase in the incorporation of [3H]acetate into acyl[3H]acetyl-GPC of the ATP-treated endothelial cells. Collectively, our data show that both acetyltransferases and transacetylase participate in and contribute to the biosynthesis of acyl analogs of PAF in a coordinate fashion in endothelial cells.

  • Interaction studies between elongation factor Tu and anthraniloyl-fluorescent analogues of guanyl nucleotides.

    Publication Date: 15/01/1995 on European journal of biochemistry
    by Giovane A, Balestrieri C, Balestrieri ML, Servillo L

    A fluorescent analogue of GDP, the 3'-O-anthraniloyl-GDP (anl-GDP) was demonstrated to bind to the elongation factor Tu (EF-Tu) with an affinity even higher than that of the parent nucleotide. As a consequence of the binding, an increase in fluorescence anisotropy and an emission band arising from non-radiative energy transfer among the protein intrinsic fluorophores and the labelled nucleotide were observed. Therefore, it was possible to study the exchange kinetics and the equilibrium between the protein-bound labelled GDP and the natural nucleotide through modifications, occurring during the course of the reaction, of fluorescence anisotropy and non-radiative energy transfer. In this way, it was also easily proven that, in the presence of aurodox (N-methylkirromycin), an antibiotic impairing EF-Tu biological function, the exchange kinetics between the protein-bound labeled GDP and the natural nucleotide was faster. Moreover, it was also found that the labelled nucleotide is recognized as a substrate by pyruvate kinase, being converted by this enzyme, in the presence of phosphoenolpyruvate, into anl-GTP. Pyruvate kinase is also able to convert, in the presence of phosphoenolpyruvate, the complex EF-Tu.anl-GDP into the complex EF-Tu.anl-GTP. The fluorescence properties of the 3'-O-anthraniloyl-labeled guanyl nucleotides and their feature as excellent acceptors of fluorescence arising from protein intrinsic fluorophores, may make these compounds useful for structural and binding studies on guanosine-nucleotide-binding proteins.

  • Docosahexaenoic acid and signaling pathways in rabbit colon.

    Publication Date: 01/04/1994 on Molecular pharmacology
    by Calderaro V, Parrillo C, Balestrieri ML, Giovane A, Filippelli A, Rossi F

    The effects of one of the main components of fish oil, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), on prostaglandin (PG) and Ca2+ signaling pathways were examined in intact mucosa and freshly isolated crypt cells of rabbit descending colon. Preincubation of serosal mucosa for 20 min with 1 microM DHA fully suppressed the short-circuit and transepithelial conductance increase induced by serosal addition of 10 microM arachidonic acid (AA). DHA at 1 microM also prevented the Cl- secretion promoted by 10 microM AA, as estimated by unidirectional 36Cl flux measurements (net flux = 0.68 +/- 0.30 versus -1.91 +/- 0.20 microEq/hr/cm2, four experiments, p < 0.001), whereas it did not affect the electrophysiological and ion flux responses to PGE2. Addition of 1 microM DHA to the serosal side of the mucosa also inhibited the PG cascade activation elicited by AA (PG synthesis and second messenger cAMP increase). In vitro assays of colonic cyclooxygenase activity showed that 1 microM DHA inhibited (with a 20-min lag) cyclooxygenase activity to the same extent as 5 microM indomethacin (approximately 82% and 80%, respectively). DHA also affected the Ca2+ signaling pathway; in isolated crypt cells, the cytosolic free Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) dropped by 49 +/- 7.6% (mean +/- standard error, six experiments) after incubation with 1 microM DHA. The sustained phase of the [Ca2+]i response to 500 nM concentrations of the intracellular Ca(2+)-ATPase inhibitor thapsigargin was also inhibited within 150 sec upon 1 microM DHA addition (141 +/- 5.8 versus 243 +/- 8.2 nM [Ca2+]i mean +/- standard error, eight experiments, p < 0.01). The [Ca2+]i-lowering effect of DHA, which was not achieved by incubation with other free fatty acids, was not prevented by removal of Na+ from the incubation medium (-46 +/- 4.3% versus -47 +/- 3.8%, mean +/- standard error, four experiments), nor it was mediated by cAMP-, protein kinase C-, or calmodulin-dependent mechanisms. The incubation of highly purified basolateral membranes of crypt cells with 1 microM DHA for 1 min produced a 5-fold increase (IC50 = 0.25 microM) in the plasma membrane Ca(2+)-ATPase activity (34.3 +/- 2.73 versus 6.02 +/- 0.50 nmol/mg of protein/min, mean +/- standard error, four experiments, p < 0.0001), thus indicating that the DHA effects on the Ca2+ pathway were mediated mainly by an increase in plasma membrane Ca2+ pump activity. These findings suggest that DHA is a powerful modulator of the cellular response to activation of PG and Ca2+ signaling pathways.