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


  • Sulfatase modifying factor 1 trafficking through the cells: from endoplasmic reticulum to the endoplasmic reticulum.

    Publication Date: 16/05/2007 on The EMBO journal
    by Zito E, Buono M, Pepe S, Settembre C, Annunziata I, Surace EM, Dierks T, Monti M, Cozzolino M, Pucci P, Ballabio A, Cosma MP
    DOI: 10.1038/sj.emboj.7601695

    Sulfatase modifying factor 1 (SUMF1) is the gene mutated in multiple sulfatase deficiency (MSD) that encodes the formylglycine-generating enzyme, an essential activator of all the sulfatases. SUMF1 is a glycosylated enzyme that is resident in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), although it is also secreted. Here, we demonstrate that upon secretion, SUMF1 can be taken up from the medium by several cell lines. Furthermore, the in vivo engineering of mice liver to produce SUMF1 shows its secretion into the blood serum and its uptake into different tissues. Additionally, we show that non-glycosylated forms of SUMF1 can still be secreted, while only the glycosylated SUMF1 enters cells, via a receptor-mediated mechanism. Surprisingly, following its uptake, SUMF1 shuttles from the plasma membrane to the ER, a route that has to date only been well characterized for some of the toxins. Remarkably, once taken up and relocalized into the ER, SUMF1 is still active, enhancing the sulfatase activities in both cultured cells and mice tissues.

  • Bidimensional tandem mass spectrometry for selective identification of nitration sites in proteins.

    Publication Date: 01/03/2007 on Analytical chemistry
    by Amoresano A, Chiappetta G, Pucci P, D'Ischia M, Marino G
    DOI: 10.1021/ac0620361

    Nitration of protein tyrosine residues is very often regarded as a molecular signal of peroxynitrite formation during development, oxidative stress, and aging. However, protein nitration might also have biological functions comparable to protein phosphorylation, mainly in redox signaling and in signal transduction. The major challenge in the proteomic analysis of nitroproteins is the need to discriminate modified proteins, usually occurring at substoichiometric levels from the large amount of nonmodified proteins. Moreover, precise localization of the nitration site is often required to fully describe the biological process. Existing methodologies essentially rely on immunochemical techniques either using 2D-PAGE fractionation in combination with western blot analyses or exploiting immunoaffinity procedures to selectively capture nitrated proteins. Here we report a totally new approach involving dansyl chloride labeling of the nitration sites that rely on the enormous potential of MSn analysis. The tryptic digest from the entire protein mixture is directly analyzed by MS on a linear ion trap mass spectrometer. Discrimination between nitro- and unmodified peptide is based on two selectivity criteria obtained by combining a precursor ion scan and an MS3 analysis. This new procedure was successfully applied to the identification of 3-nitrotyrosine residues in complex protein mixtures.

  • Lysine 58-cleaved beta2-microglobulin is not detectable by 2D electrophoresis in ex vivo amyloid fibrils of two patients affected by dialysis-related amyloidosis.

    Publication Date: 01/02/2007 on Protein science : a publication of the Protein Society
    by Giorgetti S, Stoppini M, Tennent GA, Relini A, Marchese L, Raimondi S, Monti M, Marini S, Østergaard O, Heegaard NH, Pucci P, Esposito G, Merlini G, Bellotti V
    DOI: 10.1110/ps.062563507

    The lysine 58 cleaved and truncated variant of beta(2)-microglobulin (DeltaK58-beta2m) is conformationally unstable and present in the circulation of a large percentage of patients on chronic hemodialysis, suggesting that it could play a role in the beta2-microglobulin (beta2m) amyloid fibrillogenesis associated with dialysis-related amyloidosis (DRA). However, it has yet to be detected in the amyloid deposits of such patients. Here, we extracted amyloid fibrils, without denaturation or additional purification, from different amyloidotic tissues of two unrelated individuals suffering from DRA, and characterized them by high-sensitivity bidimensional gel electrophoresis (2D-PAGE), immunoblotting, MALDI time-of-flight mass spectrometry, and protein sequencing. To confirm whether or not this species could be identified by our proteomic approaches, we mapped its location in 2D-PAGE, in mixtures of pure DeltaK58-beta2m, and extracts of amyloid fibrils from patients, to a discrete region of the gel distinct from other isoforms of beta2m. Using this approach, the two known principal isoforms found in beta2m amyloid were identified, namely, the full-length protein and the truncated species lacking six N-terminal amino acid residues (DeltaN6-beta2m). In contrast, we found no evidence for the presence of DeltaK58-beta2m.

  • Hb J-Cape Town [alpha92(FG4)Arg-->Gln (alpha1), CGG-->CAG] in Southern Italy found in a patient with erythrocytosis.

    Publication Date: 01/01/2007 on Hemoglobin
    by Pagano L, Flagiello A, Tedesco R, Ammirabile M, Pollio F, Prossomariti L, Giambona A, Passarello C, Pucci P
    DOI: 10.1080/03630260701277487

    A high oxygen affinity hemoglobin (Hb) variant, Hb J-Cape Town [alpha92(FG4)Arg-->Gln (alpha1), CGG-->CAG] was identified in a 30-year-old woman patient from Cosenza (Southern Italy) who had previously been diagnosed with juvenile polycythemia in other hospitals. The occurrence of the variant Hb was assessed by both cation exchange chromatography and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) analyses. A detailed structural and functional characterization of the variant was performed at both the protein and DNA level. Structural investigation of the Hb variant by mass spectrometric methodologies and peptide sequencing identified the amino acid replacement as Arg-->Gln at alpha92. The corresponding DNA mutation CGGCAG was assigned to codon 92 of the alpha1 gene by DNA sequencing. These findings highlight the importance of investigating the hypothesis of a high affinity variant in the presence of a polycythemia so as to avoid unnecessary bone marrow examination or radioactive treatment. This report represents the first observation of the Hb J-Cape Town variant in Italy.

  • Recombinant amyloidogenic domain of ApoA-I: analysis of its fibrillogenic potential.

    Publication Date: 08/12/2006 on Biochemical and biophysical research communications
    by Di Gaetano S, Guglielmi F, Arciello A, Mangione P, Monti M, Pagnozzi D, Raimondi S, Giorgetti S, Orrù S, Canale C, Pucci P, Dobson CM, Bellotti V, Piccoli R
    DOI: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2006.10.026

    A variety of amyloid diseases are associated with fibrillar aggregates from N-terminal fragments of ApoA-I generated through a largely unexplored multi-step process. The understanding of the molecular mechanism is impaired by the lack of suitable amounts of the fibrillogenic polypeptides that could not be produced by recombinant methods so far. We report the production and the conformational analysis of recombinant ApoA-I 1-93 fragment. Similarly to the polypeptide isolated ex vivo, a pH switch from 7 to 4 induces a fast and reversible conformational transition to a helical state and leads to the identification of a key intermediate in the fibrillogenesis process. Limited proteolysis experiments suggested that the C-terminal region is involved in helix formation. The recombinant polypeptide generates fibrils at pH 4 on a time scale comparable with that of the native fragment. These findings open the way to studies on structural, thermodynamic, and kinetic aspects of ApoA-I fibrillogenesis.

  • Pancreatic cancer-derived S-100A8 N-terminal peptide: a diabetes cause?

    Publication Date: 01/10/2006 on Clinica chimica acta; international journal of clinical chemistry
    by Basso D, Greco E, Fogar P, Pucci P, Flagiello A, Baldo G, Giunco S, Valerio A, Navaglia F, Zambon CF, Falda A, Pedrazzoli S, Plebani M
    DOI: 10.1016/j.cca.2006.03.027

    Our aim was to identify the pancreatic cancer diabetogenic peptide.

  • Structure and function of the long pentraxin PTX3 glycosidic moiety: fine-tuning of the interaction with C1q and complement activation.

    Publication Date: 26/09/2006 on Biochemistry
    by Inforzato A, Peri G, Doni A, Garlanda C, Mantovani A, Bastone A, Carpentieri A, Amoresano A, Pucci P, Roos A, Daha MR, Vincenti S, Gallo G, Carminati P, De Santis R, Salvatori G
    DOI: 10.1021/bi0607453

    The prototypic long pentraxin PTX3 is a unique fluid-phase pattern recognition receptor that plays a nonredundant role in innate immunity and female fertility. The PTX3 C-terminal domain is required for C1q recognition and complement activation and contains a single N-glycosylation site on Asn 220. In the present study, we characterized the structure of the human PTX3 glycosidic moiety and investigated its relevance in C1q interaction and activation of the complement classical pathway. By specific endo and exoglycosidases digestion and direct mass spectrometric analysis, we found that both recombinant and naturally occurring PTX3 were N-linked to fucosylated and sialylated complex-type sugars. Interestingly, glycans showed heterogeneity mainly in the relative amount of bi, tri, and tetrantennary structures depending on the cell type and inflammatory stimulus. Enzymatic removal of sialic acid or the entire glycosidic moiety equally enhanced PTX3 binding to C1q compared to that in the native protein, thus indicating that glycosylation substantially contributes to modulate PTX3/C1q interaction and that sialic acid is the main determinant of this contribution. BIAcore kinetic measurements returned decreasing K(off) values as sugars were removed, pointing to a stabilization of the PTX3/C1q complex. No major rearrangement of PTX3 quaternary structure was observed after desialylation or deglycosylation as established by size exclusion chromatography. Consistent with C1q binding, PTX3 desialylation enhanced the activation of the classical complement pathway, as assessed by C4 and C3 deposition. In conclusion, our results provided evidence of an involvement of the PTX3 sugar moiety in C1q recognition and complement activation.

  • Partial purification and MALDI-TOF MS analysis of UN1, a tumor antigen membrane glycoprotein.

    Publication Date: 15/08/2006 on International journal of biological macromolecules
    by de Laurentiis A, Caterino M, Orrù S, Ruoppolo M, Tuccillo F, Masullo M, Quinto I, Scala G, Pucci P, Palmieri C, Tassone P, Salvatore F, Venuta S
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2006.02.020

    UN1 is a membrane glycoprotein that is expressed in immature human thymocytes, a subpopulation of peripheral T lymphocytes, the HPB acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) T-cell line and fetal thymus. We previously reported the isolation of a monoclonal antibody (UN1 mAb) recognizing the UN1 protein that was classified as "unclustered" at the 5th and 6th International Workshop and Conference on Human Leukocyte Differentiation Antigens. UN1 was highly expressed in breast cancer tissues and was undetected in non-proliferative lesions and in normal breast tissues, indicating a role for UN1 in the development of a tumorigenic phenotype of breast cancer cells. In this study, we report a partial purification of the UN1 protein from HPB-ALL T cells by anion-exchange chromatography followed by immunoprecipitation with the UN1 mAb and MALDI-TOF MS analysis. This analysis should assist in identifying the amino acid sequence of UN1.

  • Exploring the mechanism of formation of native-like and precursor amyloid oligomers for the native acylphosphatase from Sulfolobus solfataricus.

    Publication Date: 01/06/2006 on Structure (London, England : 1993)
    by Plakoutsi G, Bemporad F, Monti M, Pagnozzi D, Pucci P, Chiti F
    DOI: 10.1016/j.str.2006.03.014

    Over 40 human diseases are associated with the formation of well-defined proteinaceous fibrillar aggregates. Since the oligomers precursors to the fibrils are increasingly recognized to be the causative agents of such diseases, it is important to elucidate the mechanism of formation of these early species. The acylphosphatase from Sulfolobus solfataricus is an ideal system as it was found to form, under conditions in which it is initially native, two types of prefibrillar aggregates: (1) initial enzymatically active aggregates and (2) oligomers with characteristics reminiscent of amyloid protofibrils, with the latter originating from the structural reorganization of the initial assemblies. By studying a number of protein variants with a variety of biophysical techniques, we have identified the regions of the sequence and the driving forces that promote the first aggregation phase and show that the second phase consists in a cooperative conversion involving the entire globular fold.

  • Indole-3-acetic acid improves Escherichia coli's defences to stress.

    Publication Date: 01/06/2006 on Archives of microbiology
    by Bianco C, Imperlini E, Calogero R, Senatore B, Amoresano A, Carpentieri A, Pucci P, Defez R
    DOI: 10.1007/s00203-006-0103-y

    Indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) is a ubiquitous molecule playing regulatory roles in many living organisms. To elucidate the physiological changes induced by IAA treatment, we used Escherichia coli K-12 as a model system. By microarray analysis we found that 16 genes showed an altered expression level in IAA-treated cells. One-third of these genes encode cell envelope components, or proteins involved in bacterial adaptation to unfavourable environmental conditions. We thus investigated the effect of IAA treatment on some of the structural components of the envelope that may be involved in cellular response to stresses. This showed that IAA-treated cells had increased the production of trehalose, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), exopolysaccharide (EPS) and biofilm. We demonstrated further that IAA triggers an increased tolerance to several stress conditions (heat and cold shock, UV-irradiation, osmotic and acid shock and oxidative stress) and different toxic compounds (antibiotics, detergents and dyes) and this correlates with higher levels of the heat shock protein DnaK. We suggest that IAA triggers an increased level of alert and protection against external adverse conditions by coordinately enhancing different cellular defence systems.