Pietro Pucci

Professor of Biochemistry

Name Pietro
Surname Pucci
Institution Università degli Studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli
Telephone +39 081 674 318 (UniNa)
Telephone 2 +39 081 373 7896 (Ceinge)
E-Mail pucci@unina.it
Address Department of Chemical Sciences, Federico II University, Via Cintia 6, 80126, Naples, Italy
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Pietro Pucci


  • Retraction: The microRNA 15a/16-1 cluster down-regulates protein repair isoaspartyl methyltransferase in hepatoma cells: Implications for apoptosis regulation.

    Publication Date: 24/05/2019 on The Journal of biological chemistry
    by Sambri I, Capasso R, Pucci P, Perna AF, Ingrosso D
    DOI: 10.1074/jbc.RX119.009146
  • A signalling cascade involving receptor-activated phospholipase A<sub>2</sub>, glycerophosphoinositol 4-phosphate, Shp1 and Src in the activation of cell motility.

    Publication Date: 01/03/2019 on Cell communication and signaling : CCS
    by Varone A, Mariggiò S, Patheja M, Maione V, Varriale A, Vessichelli M, Spano D, Formiggini F, Lo Monte M, Brancati N, Frucci M, Del Vecchio P, D'Auria S, Flagiello A, Iannuzzi C, Luini A, Pucci P, Banci L, Valente C, Corda D
    DOI: 10.1186/s12964-019-0329-3

    Shp1, a tyrosine-phosphatase-1 containing the Src-homology 2 (SH2) domain, is involved in inflammatory and immune reactions, where it regulates diverse signalling pathways, usually by limiting cell responses through dephosphorylation of target molecules. Moreover, Shp1 regulates actin dynamics. One Shp1 target is Src, which controls many cellular functions including actin dynamics. Src has been previously shown to be activated by a signalling cascade initiated by the cytosolic-phospholipase A (cPLA) metabolite glycerophosphoinositol 4-phosphate (GroPIns4P), which enhances actin polymerisation and motility. While the signalling cascade downstream Src has been fully defined, the mechanism by which GroPIns4P activates Src remains unknown.

  • TRIM8-driven transcriptomic profile of neural stem cells identified glioma-related nodal genes and pathways.

    Publication Date: 05/12/2018 on Biochimica et biophysica acta. General subjects
    by Venuto S, Castellana S, Monti M, Appolloni I, Fusilli C, Fusco C, Pucci P, Malatesta P, Mazza T, Merla G, Micale L
    DOI: 10.1016/j.bbagen.2018.12.001

    We recently reported TRIM8, encoding an E3 ubiquitin ligase, as a gene aberrantly expressed in glioblastoma whose expression suppresses cell growth and induces a significant reduction of clonogenic potential in glioblastoma cell lines.

  • Genome-wide mapping of 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2'-deoxyguanosine reveals accumulation of oxidatively-generated damage at DNA replication origins within transcribed long genes of mammalian cells.

    Publication Date: 20/11/2018 on Nucleic acids research
    by Amente S, Di Palo G, Scala G, Castrignanò T, Gorini F, Cocozza S, Moresano A, Pucci P, Ma B, Stepanov I, Lania L, Pelicci PG, Dellino GI, Majello B
    DOI: 10.1093/nar/gky1152

    8-Oxo-7,8-dihydro-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-oxodG) is one of the major DNA modifications and a potent pre-mutagenic lesion prone to mispair with 2'-deoxyadenosine (dA). Several thousand residues of 8-oxodG are constitutively generated in the genome of mammalian cells, but their genomic distribution has not yet been fully characterized. Here, by using OxiDIP-Seq, a highly sensitive methodology that uses immuno-precipitation with efficient anti-8-oxodG antibodies combined with high-throughput sequencing, we report the genome-wide distribution of 8-oxodG in human non-tumorigenic epithelial breast cells (MCF10A), and mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs). OxiDIP-Seq revealed sites of 8-oxodG accumulation overlapping with γH2AX ChIP-Seq signals within the gene body of transcribed long genes, particularly at the DNA replication origins contained therein. We propose that the presence of persistent single-stranded DNA, as a consequence of transcription-replication clashes at these sites, determines local vulnerability to DNA oxidation and/or its slow repair. This oxidatively-generated damage, likely in combination with other kinds of lesion, might contribute to the formation of DNA double strand breaks and activation of DNA damage response.

  • The extreme hyper-reactivity of Cys94 in lysozyme avoids its amorphous aggregation.

    Publication Date: 30/10/2018 on Scientific reports
    by Bocedi A, Cattani G, Martelli C, Cozzolino F, Castagnola M, Pucci P, Ricci G
    DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-34439-y

    Many proteins provided with disulfide bridges in the native state undergo amorphous irreversible aggregation when these bonds are not formed. Here we show that egg lysozyme displays a clever strategy to prevent this deleterious aggregation during the nascent phase when disulfides are still absent. In fact, when the reduced protein assembles into a molten globule state, its cysteines acquire strong hyper-reactivity towards natural disulfides. The most reactive residue, Cys94, reacts with oxidized glutathione (GSSG) 3000 times faster than an unperturbed protein cysteine. A low pK of its sulfhydryl group (6.6/7.1) and a productive complex with GSSG (K = 0.3 mM), causes a fast glutathionylation of this residue (t = 3 s) and a complete inhibition of the protein aggregation. Other six cysteines display 70 times higher reactivity toward GSSG. The discovery of extreme hyper-reactivity in cysteines only devoted to structural roles opens new research fields for Alzheimer's and Parkinson diseases.

  • A hypothesis of sudden body fluid vaporization in the 79 AD victims of Vesuvius.

    Publication Date: 26/09/2018 on PloS one
    by Petrone P, Pucci P, Vergara A, Amoresano A, Birolo L, Pane F, Sirano F, Niola M, Buccelli C, Graziano V
    DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0203210

    In AD 79 the town of Herculaneum was suddenly hit and overwhelmed by volcanic ash-avalanches that killed all its remaining residents, as also occurred in Pompeii and other settlements as far as 20 kilometers from Vesuvius. New investigations on the victims' skeletons unearthed from the ash deposit filling 12 waterfront chambers have now revealed widespread preservation of atypical red and black mineral residues encrusting the bones, which also impregnate the ash filling the intracranial cavity and the ash-bed encasing the skeletons. Here we show the unique detection of large amounts of iron and iron oxides from such residues, as revealed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and Raman microspectroscopy, thought to be the final products of heme iron upon thermal decomposition. The extraordinarily rare preservation of significant putative evidence of hemoprotein thermal degradation from the eruption victims strongly suggests the rapid vaporization of body fluids and soft tissues of people at death due to exposure to extreme heat.

  • Multiple Reaction Monitoring Tandem Mass Spectrometry Approach for the Identification of Biological Fluids at Crime Scene Investigations.

    Publication Date: 01/05/2018 on Analytical chemistry
    by Illiano A, Arpino V, Pinto G, Berti A, Verdoliva V, Peluso G, Pucci P, Amoresano A
    DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.7b04742

    Knowledge of the nature of biofluids at a crime scene is just as important as DNA test to link the nature of the biofluid, the criminal act, and the dynamics of the crime. Identification of methods currently used for each biological fluid (blood, semen, saliva, urine) suffer from several limitations including instability of assayed biomolecules, and low selectivity and specificity; as an example of the latter issue, it is not possible to discriminate between alpha-amylase 1 (present in saliva) and alpha-amylase 2 (present in semen and vaginal secretion. In this context, the aim of the work has been to provide a predictive protein signature characteristic of each biofluid by the recognition of specific peptides unique for each protein in a single analysis. A panel of four protein biomarkers for blood, four for saliva, five for semen, and two for urine has been monitored has been monitored by using a single multiple reaction monitoring (MRM)-based method targeting concomitantly 46 different peptides. Then, The optimized method allows four biological matrices to be identified when present on their own or in 50:50 mixture with another biofluid. Finally, a valid strategy combining both DNA analysis and liquid chromatographic-tandem mass spectrometric multiple reaction monitoring (LC-MS-MRM) identification of biofluids on the same sample has been demonstrated to be particularly effective in forensic investigation of real trace evidence collected at a crime scene.

  • New insights on the functional role of URG7 in the cellular response to ER stress.

    Publication Date: 28/04/2018 on Biology of the cell
    by Armentano MF, Caterino M, Miglionico R, Ostuni A, Pace MC, Cozzolino F, Monti M, Milella L, Carmosino M, Pucci P, Bisaccia F
    DOI: 10.1111/boc.201800004

    Up-regulated Gene clone 7 (URG7) is an ER resident protein, whose expression is upregulated in the presence of hepatitis B virus X antigen (HBxAg) during HBV infection. In virus-infected hepatocytes, URG7 shows an anti-apoptotic activity due to the PI3K/AKT signaling activation, does not seem to have tumorigenic properties, but it appears to promote the development and progression of fibrosis. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying URG7 activity remain largely unknown.

  • S-glutathionylation exerts opposing roles in the regulation of STAT1 and STAT3 signaling in reactive microglia.

    Publication Date: 01/03/2018 on Free radical biology & medicine
    by Butturini E, Cozzolino F, Boriero D, Carcereri de Prati A, Monti M, Rossin M, Canetti D, Cellini B, Pucci P, Mariotto S
    DOI: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2018.02.005

    STAT1 and STAT3 are two transcription factors involved in a lot of cellular functions such as immune response, proliferation, apoptosis, and cell survival. A number of literature evidences described a yin-yang relationship between activation of STAT1 and STAT3 in neurodegenerative disorders where STAT1 exerts a pro-apoptotic effect whereas STAT3 shows neuroprotective properties through the inhibition of apoptosis. Although the role of oxidative-stress in the pathogenesis of neurodegeneration is clearly described, its influence in the regulation of these pathways is poorly understood. Herein, we demonstrate that HO rapidly induces phosphorylation of STAT1 whereas it is not able to influence phosphorylation of STAT3 in mouse microglia BV2 cells. The analysis of the molecular mechanism of STATs signaling reveals that HO induces S-glutathionylation of both STAT1 and STAT3. The same post-translational event exerts an opposing role in the regulation of STAT1 and STAT3 signaling. These data not only confirm redox sensibility of STAT3 signaling but also reveal for the first time that STAT1 is susceptible to redox regulation. A deep study of the molecular mechanism of STAT1 redox regulation, identifies Cys324 and Cys492 as the main targets of S-glutathionylation and confirms that S-glutathionylation does not impair JAK2 mediated STAT1 tyrosine phosphorylation. These results demonstrate that both phosphorylation and glutathionylation contribute to activation of STAT1 during oxidative stress and underline that the same post-translation event exerts an opposing role in the regulation of STAT1 and STAT3 signaling in microglia cells.

  • New Perspectives in Cancer: Modulation of Lipid Metabolism and Inflammation Resolution.

    Publication Date: 03/10/2017 on Pharmacological research
    by Prevete N, Liotti F, Amoresano A, Pucci P, de Paulis A, Melillo RM
    DOI: 10.1016/j.phrs.2017.09.024

    Inflammation is considered an enabling feature of cancer. Besides the persistence of inflammatory stimuli, also defective mechanisms of resolution can lead to chronic inflammation. Inflammation resolution is an active process controlled by lipidic specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPMs), derived from ω-3 or ω-6 essential polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) through the activity of lipoxygenases (ALOX5 and 15). Thus, a lack or defect in resolution mechanisms may affect cancer development and progression by prolonging inflammation. Components of pro-resolving pathways (PUFA, enzymes, or SPMs) have been reported to modulate various cancer features by affecting both epithelial cells and cancer-associated stroma. Here, we will review the most important mechanisms by which SPMs, ω-3/6 PUFA, and ALOXs affect cancer biology, paying particular attention to their role in the inhibition of inflammation and angiogenesis, two of the most important hallmarks of cancer. The collection of these results may suggest novel perspectives in cancer management based on the modulation of lipid metabolism and the production of SPMs.