Maria Monti

Professor of Biochemistry

Name Maria
Surname Monti
Institution University of Naples – Federico II
Address UniNa: Department of Chemical Sciences, Via Cinthia, Complesso Monte Sant’Angelo 21, 80126 Naples, Italy. Ceinge: CEINGE Biotecnologie Avanzate, Via G. Salvatore 486, 80126 Naples, Italy
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Maria Monti


  • S-Glutathionylation at Cys328 and Cys542 impairs STAT3 phosphorylation.

    Publication Date: 15/08/2014 on ACS chemical biology
    by Butturini E, Darra E, Chiavegato G, Cellini B, Cozzolino F, Monti M, Pucci P, Dell'Orco D, Mariotto S
    DOI: 10.1021/cb500407d

    STAT3 is a latent transcription factor that promotes cell survival and proliferation and is often constitutively active in cancers. Although many reports provide evidence that STAT3 is a direct target of oxidative stress, its redox regulation is poorly understood. Under oxidative conditions STAT3 activity can be modulated by S-glutathionylation, a reversible redox modification of cysteine residues. This suggests the possible cross-talk between phosphorylation and glutathionylation and points out that STAT3 is susceptible to redox regulation. Recently, we reported that decreasing the GSH content in different cell lines induces inhibition of STAT3 activity through the reversible oxidation of thiol groups. In the present work, we demonstrate that GSH/diamide treatment induces S-glutathionylation of STAT3 in the recombinant purified form. This effect was completely reversed by treatment with the reducing agent dithiothreitol, indicating that S-glutathionylation of STAT3 was related to formation of protein-mixed disulfides. Moreover, addition of the bulky negatively charged GSH moiety impairs JAK2-mediated STAT3 phosphorylation, very likely interfering with tyrosine accessibility and thus affecting protein structure and function. Mass mapping analysis identifies two glutathionylated cysteine residues, Cys328 and Cys542, within the DNA-binding domain and the linker domain, respectively. Site direct mutagenesis and in vitro kinase assay confirm the importance of both cysteine residues in the complex redox regulatory mechanism of STAT3. Cells expressing mutant were resistant in this regard. The data presented herein confirmed the occurrence of a redox-dependent regulation of STAT3, identified the more redox-sensitive cysteines within STAT3 structure, and may have important implications for development of new drugs.

  • Ranolazine protects from doxorubicin-induced oxidative stress and cardiac dysfunction.

    Publication Date: 01/04/2014 on European journal of heart failure
    by Tocchetti CG, Carpi A, Coppola C, Quintavalle C, Rea D, Campesan M, Arcari A, Piscopo G, Cipresso C, Monti MG, De Lorenzo C, Arra C, Condorelli G, Di Lisa F, Maurea N
    DOI: 10.1002/ejhf.50

    Doxorubicin is widely used against cancer; however, it can produce heart failure (HF). Among other hallmarks, oxidative stress is a major contributor to HF pathophysiology. The late INa inhibitor ranolazine has proven effective in treating experimental HF. Since elevated [Na+]i is present in failing myocytes, and has been recently linked with reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, our aim was to assess whether ranolazine prevents doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity, and whether blunted oxidative stress is a mechanism accounting for such protection.

  • HDAC6 mediates the acetylation of TRIM50.

    Publication Date: 01/02/2014 on Cellular signalling
    by Fusco C, Micale L, Augello B, Mandriani B, Pellico MT, De Nittis P, Calcagnì A, Monti M, Cozzolino F, Pucci P, Merla G
    DOI: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2013.11.036

    The E3 Ubiquitin ligase TRIM50 promotes the formation and clearance of aggresome-associated polyubiquitinated proteins through HDAC6 interaction, a tubulin specific deacetylase that regulates microtubule-dependent aggresome formation. In this report we showed that TRIM50 is a target of HDAC6 with Lys-372 as a critical residue for acetylation. We identified p300 and PCAF as two TRIM50 acetyltransferases and we further showed that a balance between ubiquitination and acetylation regulates TRIM50 degradation.

  • Proteolytic cleavage of Ser52Pro variant transthyretin triggers its amyloid fibrillogenesis.

    Publication Date: 28/01/2014 on Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
    by Mangione PP, Porcari R, Gillmore JD, Pucci P, Monti M, Porcari M, Giorgetti S, Marchese L, Raimondi S, Serpell LC, Chen W, Relini A, Marcoux J, Clatworthy IR, Taylor GW, Tennent GA, Robinson CV, Hawkins PN, Stoppini M, Wood SP, Pepys MB, Bellotti V
    DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1317488111

    The Ser52Pro variant of transthyretin (TTR) produces aggressive, highly penetrant, autosomal-dominant systemic amyloidosis in persons heterozygous for the causative mutation. Together with a minor quantity of full-length wild-type and variant TTR, the main component of the ex vivo fibrils was the residue 49-127 fragment of the TTR variant, the portion of the TTR sequence that previously has been reported to be the principal constituent of type A, cardiac amyloid fibrils formed from wild-type TTR and other TTR variants [Bergstrom J, et al. (2005) J Pathol 206(2):224-232]. This specific truncation of Ser52Pro TTR was generated readily in vitro by limited proteolysis. In physiological conditions and under agitation the residue 49-127 proteolytic fragment rapidly and completely self-aggregates into typical amyloid fibrils. The remarkable susceptibility to such cleavage is likely caused by localized destabilization of the β-turn linking strands C and D caused by loss of the wild-type hydrogen-bonding network between the side chains of residues Ser52, Glu54, Ser50, and a water molecule, as revealed by the high-resolution crystallographic structure of Ser52Pro TTR. We thus provide a structural basis for the recently hypothesized, crucial pathogenic role of proteolytic cleavage in TTR amyloid fibrillogenesis. Binding of the natural ligands thyroxine or retinol-binding protein (RBP) by Ser52Pro variant TTR stabilizes the native tetrameric assembly, but neither protected the variant from proteolysis. However, binding of RBP, but not thyroxine, inhibited subsequent fibrillogenesis.

  • Vesicular and non-vesicular transport feed distinct glycosylation pathways in the Golgi.

    Publication Date: 05/09/2013 on Nature
    by D'Angelo G, Uemura T, Chuang CC, Polishchuk E, Santoro M, Ohvo-Rekilä H, Sato T, Di Tullio G, Varriale A, D'Auria S, Daniele T, Capuani F, Johannes L, Mattjus P, Monti M, Pucci P, Williams RL, Burke JE, Platt FM, Harada A, De Matteis MA
    DOI: 10.1038/nature12423

    Newly synthesized proteins and lipids are transported across the Golgi complex via different mechanisms whose respective roles are not completely clear. We previously identified a non-vesicular intra-Golgi transport pathway for glucosylceramide (GlcCer)--the common precursor of the different series of glycosphingolipids-that is operated by the cytosolic GlcCer-transfer protein FAPP2 (also known as PLEKHA8) (ref. 1). However, the molecular determinants of the FAPP2-mediated transfer of GlcCer from the cis-Golgi to the trans-Golgi network, as well as the physiological relevance of maintaining two parallel transport pathways of GlcCer--vesicular and non-vesicular--through the Golgi, remain poorly defined. Here, using mouse and cell models, we clarify the molecular mechanisms underlying the intra-Golgi vectorial transfer of GlcCer by FAPP2 and show that GlcCer is channelled by vesicular and non-vesicular transport to two topologically distinct glycosylation tracks in the Golgi cisternae and the trans-Golgi network, respectively. Our results indicate that the transport modality across the Golgi complex is a key determinant for the glycosylation pattern of a cargo and establish a new paradigm for the branching of the glycosphingolipid synthetic pathway.

  • Role of GALNT2 in the modulation of ENPP1 expression, and insulin signaling and action: GALNT2: a novel modulator of insulin signaling.

    Publication Date: 01/06/2013 on Biochimica et biophysica acta
    by Marucci A, Cozzolino F, Dimatteo C, Monti M, Pucci P, Trischitta V, Di Paola R
    DOI: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2013.02.032

    Ectonucleotide pyrophosphatase phosphodiesterase 1 (ENPP1) inhibits insulin signaling and action. Understanding the mechanisms underlying ENPP1 expression may help unravel molecular mechanisms of insulin resistance. Recent data suggest a role of ENPP1-3'untraslated region (UTR), in controlling ENPP1 expression. We sought to identify trans-acting ENPP1-3'UTR binding proteins, and investigate their role on insulin signaling. By RNA pull-down, 49 proteins bound to ENPP1-3'UTR RNA were identified by mass spectrometry (MS). Among these, in silico analysis of genome wide association studies and expression profile datasets pointed to N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase 2 gene (GALNT2) for subsequent investigations. Gene expression levels were evaluated by RT-PCR. Protein expression levels, IRS-1 and Akt phosphorylation were evaluated by Western blot. Insulin receptor (IR) autophosphorylation was evaluated by ELISA. GALNT2 down-regulation increased while GALNT2 over-expression reduced ENPP1 expression levels. In addition, GALNT2 down-regulation reduced insulin stimulation of IR, IRS-1 and Akt phosphorylation and insulin inhibition of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK) expression, a key neoglucogenetic enzyme. Our data point to GALNT2 as a novel factor involved in the modulation of ENPP1 expression as well as insulin signaling and action in human liver HepG2 cells.

  • Molecular and functional analysis of the large 5' promoter region of CFTR gene revealed pathogenic mutations in CF and CFTR-related disorders.

    Publication Date: 01/05/2013 on The Journal of molecular diagnostics : JMD
    by Giordano S, Amato F, Elce A, Monti M, Iannone C, Pucci P, Seia M, Angioni A, Zarrilli F, Castaldo G, Tomaiuolo R
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jmoldx.2013.01.001

    Patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) manifest a multisystemic disease due to mutations in the gene encoding the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR); despite extensive testing of coding regions, a proportion of CF alleles remains unidentified. We studied 118 patients with CF and CFTR-related disorders, most with one or both unknown mutations after the scanning of CFTR coding regions, and a non-CF control group (n = 75) by sequencing the 6000-bp region at the 5' of the CFTR gene. We identified 23 mutations, of which 9 were novel. We expressed such mutations in vitro using four cell systems to explore their functional effect, relating the data to the clinical expression of each patient. Some mutations reduced expression of the gene reporter firefly luciferase in various cell lines and may act as disease-causing mutations. Other mutations caused an increase in luciferase expression in some cell lines. One mutation had a different effect in different cells. For other mutations, the expression assay excluded a functional role. Gene variants in the large 5' region may cause altered regulation of CFTR gene expression, acting as disease-causing mutations or modifiers of its clinical phenotype. Studies of in vitro expression in different cell systems may help reveal the effect of such mutations.

  • A complex of α6 integrin and E-cadherin drives liver metastasis of colorectal cancer cells through hepatic angiopoietin-like 6.

    Publication Date: 01/11/2012 on EMBO molecular medicine
    by Marchiò S, Soster M, Cardaci S, Muratore A, Bartolini A, Barone V, Ribero D, Monti M, Bovino P, Sun J, Giavazzi R, Asioli S, Cassoni P, Capussotti L, Pucci P, Bugatti A, Rusnati M, Pasqualini R, Arap W, Bussolino F
    DOI: 10.1002/emmm.201101164

    Homing of colorectal cancer (CRC) cells to the liver is a non-random process driven by a crosstalk between tumour cells and components of the host tissue. Here we report the isolation of a liver metastasis-specific peptide ligand (CGIYRLRSC) that binds a complex of E-cadherin and α(6) integrin on the surface of CRC cells. We identify angiopoietin-like 6 protein as a peptide-mimicked natural ligand enriched in hepatic blood vessels of CRC patients. We demonstrate that an interaction between hepatic angiopoietin-like 6 and tumoural α(6) integrin/E-cadherin drives liver homing and colonization by CRC cells, and that CGIYRLRSC inhibits liver metastasis through interference with this ligand/receptor system. Our results indicate a mechanism for metastasis whereby a soluble factor accumulated in normal vessels functions as a specific ligand for circulating cancer cells. Consistently, we show that high amounts of coexpressed α(6) integrin and E-cadherin in primary tumours represent a poor prognostic factor for patients with advanced CRC.

  • Comparison of preclinical cardiotoxic effects of different ErbB2 inhibitors.

    Publication Date: 01/06/2012 on Breast cancer research and treatment
    by Fedele C, Riccio G, Coppola C, Barbieri A, Monti MG, Arra C, Tocchetti CG, D'Alessio G, Maurea N, De Lorenzo C
    DOI: 10.1007/s10549-011-1783-9

    Two novel human antitumor immunoconjugates, made up of a human anti-ErbB2 scFv, Erbicin, fused with either a human RNase or the Fc region of a human IgG1, are selectively cytotoxic for ErbB2-positive cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. The Erbicin-derived immunoagents (EDIA) target an epitope different from that of trastuzumab, the only humanized antibody currently prescribed for treatment of ErbB2-positive breast cancer (BC). As Trastuzumab has shown cardiotoxic effects, in this study, we evaluated if any side effects were exerted also by EDIA, used as single agents or in combination with anthracyclines. Furthermore, we compared the in vitro and in vivo cardiotoxic effects of EDIA with those of the other available anti-ErbB2 drugs: Trastuzumab, 2C4 (Pertuzumab), and Lapatinib. In this article, we show that EDIA, in contrast with Trastuzumab, 2C4, and Lapatinib, have no toxic effects on human fetal cardiomyocytes in vitro, and do not induce additive toxicity when combined with doxorubicin. Furthermore, EDIA do not impair cardiac function in vivo in mice, as evaluated by Color Doppler echocardiography, whereas Trastuzumab significantly reduces radial strain (RS) at day 2 and fractional shortening (FS) at day 7 of treatment in a fashion similar to doxorubicin. Also 2C4 and Lapatinib significantly reduce RS after only 2 days of treatment, even though they showed cardiotoxic effects less pronounced than those of Trastuzumab. These results strongly indicate that RS could become a reliable marker to detect early cardiac dysfunction and that EDIA could fulfill the therapeutic need of patients ineligible to Trastuzumab treatment because of cardiac dysfunction.

  • Apolipoprotein A-I amyloidogenic variant L174S, expressed and isolated from stably transfected mammalian cells, is associated with fatty acids.

    Publication Date: 01/03/2012 on Amyloid : the international journal of experimental and clinical investigation : the official journal of the International Society of Amyloidosis
    by Monti DM, Di Gaetano S, Del Giudice R, Giangrande C, Amoresano A, Monti M, Arciello A, Piccoli R
    DOI: 10.3109/13506129.2011.651544

    Sixteen variants of apolipoprotein A-I (ApoA-I) are associated with hereditary systemic amyloidoses, characterized by amyloid deposition in peripheral organs of patients. As these are heterozygous for the amyloidogenic variants, their isolation from plasma is impracticable and recombinant expression systems are needed. Here we report the expression of recombinant ApoA-I amyloidogenic variant Leu174 with Ser (L174S) in stably transfected Chinese hamster ovary-K1 cells. ApoA-I variant L174S was found to be efficiently secreted in the culture medium, from which it was isolated following a one-step purification procedure. Mass spectrometry analyses allowed the qualitative and quantitative definition of the amyloidogenic variant lipid content, which was found to consist of two saturated and two monounsaturated fatty acids. Interestingly, the same lipid species were found to be associated with the wild-type ApoA-I, expressed and isolated using the same cell system, with lower values of the lipid to protein molar ratios with respect to the amyloidogenic variant. A possible role of fatty acids in trafficking and secretion of apolipoproteins may be hypothesized.