Simona Paladino

Researcher of Applied Biology

Name Simona
Surname Paladino
Institution University of Naples – Federico II
Address Department of Molecular Medicine and Medical Biotechnology, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy
Simona Paladino


  • Clustering in the Golgi apparatus governs sorting and function of GPI-APs in polarized epithelial cells.

    Publication Date: 10/08/2019 on FEBS letters
    by Lebreton S, Paladino S, Zurzolo C
    DOI: 10.1002/1873-3468.13573

    Glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored proteins (GPI-APs) are lipid-anchored proteins attached to the extracellular leaflet of the plasma membrane via a glycolipid anchor. GPI-APs are commonly associated with cholesterol- and sphingolipid-enriched membrane microdomains. These microdomains help regulating various biological activities, by segregating different proteins and lipids in (nanoscale) membrane compartments. In fibroblasts, GPI-APs form actin- and cholesterol-dependent nanoclusters directly at the plasma membrane (PM). By contrast, in polarized epithelial cells GPI-APs cluster in the Golgi apparatus, the major protein-sorting hub for the secretory pathway. Golgi clustering is required for the selective sorting of GPI-APs to the apical PM domain, but also regulates their organization and biological activities at the cell surface. In this review, we discuss recent advances in our understanding of the mechanism of GPI-AP sorting to the apical membrane. We focus on the roles of the protein moiety, lipids, and calcium ions in the regulation of the clustering of GPI-APs in the Golgi apparatus. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  • Pioglitazone Improves Mitochondrial Organization and Bioenergetics in Down Syndrome Cells.

    Publication Date: 28/06/2019 on Frontiers in genetics
    by Mollo N, Nitti M, Zerillo L, Faicchia D, Micillo T, Accarino R, Secondo A, Petrozziello T, Calì G, Cicatiello R, Bonfiglio F, Sarnataro V, Genesio R, Izzo A, Pinton P, Matarese G, Paladino S, Conti A, Nitsch L
    DOI: 10.3389/fgene.2019.00606

    Mitochondrial dysfunction plays a primary role in neurodevelopmental anomalies and neurodegeneration of Down syndrome (DS) subjects. For this reason, targeting mitochondrial key genes, such as , is emerging as a good therapeutic approach to attenuate cognitive disability in DS. After demonstrating the efficacy of the biguanide metformin (a activator) in a cell model of DS, we extended the study to other molecules that regulate the pathway acting on genes. We, therefore, treated trisomic fetal fibroblasts with different doses of pioglitazone (PGZ) and evaluated the effects on mitochondrial dynamics and function. Treatment with PGZ significantly increased mRNA and protein levels of PGC-1α. Mitochondrial network was fully restored by PGZ administration affecting the fission-fusion mitochondrial machinery. Specifically, optic atrophy 1 () and mitofusin 1 () were upregulated while dynamin-related protein 1 () was downregulated. These effects, together with a significant increase of basal ATP content and oxygen consumption rate, and a significant decrease of reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, provide strong evidence of an overall improvement of mitochondria bioenergetics in trisomic cells. In conclusion, we demonstrate that PGZ is able to improve mitochondrial phenotype even at low concentrations (0.5 μM). We also speculate that a combination of drugs that target mitochondrial function might be advantageous, offering potentially higher efficacy and lower individual drug dosage.

  • PERK-Mediated Unfolded Protein Response Activation and Oxidative Stress in PARK20 Fibroblasts.

    Publication Date: 27/06/2019 on Frontiers in neuroscience
    by Amodio G, Moltedo O, Fasano D, Zerillo L, Oliveti M, Di Pietro P, Faraonio R, Barone P, Pellecchia MT, De Rosa A, De Michele G, Polishchuk E, Polishchuk R, Bonifati V, Nitsch L, Pierantoni GM, Renna M, Criscuolo C, Paladino S, Remondelli P
    DOI: 10.3389/fnins.2019.00673

    PARK20, an early onset autosomal recessive parkinsonism is due to mutations in the phosphatidylinositol-phosphatase Synaptojanin 1 (Synj1). We have recently shown that the early endosomal compartments are profoundly altered in PARK20 fibroblasts as well as the endosomal trafficking. Here, we report that PARK20 fibroblasts also display a drastic alteration of the architecture and function of the early secretory compartments. Our results show that the exit machinery from the Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER) and the ER-to-Golgi trafficking are markedly compromised in patient cells. As a consequence, PARK20 fibroblasts accumulate large amounts of cargo proteins within the ER, leading to the induction of ER stress. Interestingly, this stressful state is coupled to the activation of the PERK/eIF2α/ATF4/CHOP pathway of the Unfolded Protein Response (UPR). In addition, PARK20 fibroblasts reveal upregulation of oxidative stress markers and total ROS production with concomitant alteration of the morphology of the mitochondrial network. Interestingly, treatment of PARK20 cells with GSK2606414 (GSK), a specific inhibitor of PERK activity, restores the level of ROS, signaling a direct correlation between ER stress and the induction of oxidative stress in the PARK20 cells. All together, these findings suggest that dysfunction of early secretory pathway might contribute to the pathogenesis of the disease.

  • Effects of Long-Term Citrate Treatment in the PC3 Prostate Cancer Cell Line.

    Publication Date: 28/05/2019 on International journal of molecular sciences
    by Caiazza C, D'Agostino M, Passaro F, Faicchia D, Mallardo M, Paladino S, Pierantoni GM, Tramontano D
    DOI: 10.3390/ijms20112613

    Acute administration of a high level of extracellular citrate displays an anti-proliferative effect on both in vitro and in vivo models. However, the long-term effect of citrate treatment has not been investigated yet. Here, we address this question in PC3 cells, a prostate-cancer-derived cell line. Acute administration of high levels of extracellular citrate impaired cell adhesion and inhibited the proliferation of PC3 cells, but surviving cells adapted to grow in the chronic presence of 20 mM citrate. Citrate-resistant PC3 cells are significantly less glycolytic than control cells. Moreover, they overexpress short-form, citrate-insensitive phosphofructokinase 1 (PFK1) together with full-length PFK1. In addition, they show traits of mesenchymal-epithelial transition: an increase in E-cadherin and a decrease in vimentin. In comparison with PC3 cells, citrate-resistant cells display morphological changes that involve both microtubule and microfilament organization. This was accompanied by changes in homeostasis and the organization of intracellular organelles. Thus, the mitochondrial network appears fragmented, the Golgi complex is scattered, and the lysosomal compartment is enlarged. Interestingly, citrate-resistant cells produce less total ROS but accumulate more mitochondrial ROS than control cells. Consistently, in citrate-resistant cells, the autophagic pathway is upregulated, possibly sustaining their survival. In conclusion, chronic administration of citrate might select resistant cells, which could jeopardize the benefits of citrate anticancer treatment.

  • The thyroid hormone activating enzyme, type 2 deiodinase, induces myogenic differentiation by regulating mitochondrial metabolism and reducing oxidative stress.

    Publication Date: 22/05/2019 on Redox biology
    by Sagliocchi S, Cicatiello AG, Di Cicco E, Ambrosio R, Miro C, Di Girolamo D, Nappi A, Mancino G, De Stefano MA, Luongo C, Raia M, Ogawa-Wong AN, Zavacki AM, Paladino S, Salvatore D, Dentice M
    DOI: 10.1016/j.redox.2019.101228

    Thyroid hormone (TH) is a key metabolic regulator that acts by coordinating short- and long-term energy needs. Accordingly, significant metabolic changes are observed depending on thyroid status. Although it is established that hyperthyroidism augments basal energy consumption, thus resulting in an enhanced metabolic state, the net effects on cellular respiration and generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) remain unclear. To elucidate the effects of augmented TH signal in muscle cells, we generated a doxycycline-inducible cell line in which the expression of the TH-activating enzyme, type 2 deiodinase (D2), is reversibly turned on by the "Tet-ON" system. Interestingly, increased intracellular TH caused a net shift from oxidative phosphorylation to glycolysis and a consequent increase in the extracellular acidification rate. As a result, mitochondrial ROS production, and both the basal and doxorubicin-induced production of cellular ROS were reduced. Importantly, the expression of a set of antioxidant genes was up-regulated, and, among them, the mitochondrial scavenger Sod2 was specifically induced at transcriptional level by D2-mediated TH activation. Finally, we observed that attenuation of oxidative stress and increased levels of SOD2 are key elements of the differentiating cascade triggered by TH and D2, thereby establishing that D2 is essential in coordinating metabolic reprogramming of myocytes during myogenic differentiation. In conclusion, our findings indicate that TH plays a key role in oxidative stress dynamics by regulating ROS generation. Our novel finding that TH and its intracellular metabolism act as mitochondrial detoxifying agents sheds new light on metabolic processes relevant to muscle physiology.

  • Molecular determinants of ER-Golgi contacts identified through a new FRET-FLIM system.

    Publication Date: 18/01/2019 on The Journal of cell biology
    by Venditti R, Rega LR, Masone MC, Santoro M, Polishchuk E, Sarnataro D, Paladino S, D'Auria S, Varriale A, Olkkonen VM, Di Tullio G, Polishchuk R, De Matteis MA
    DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201812020

    ER-TGN contact sites (ERTGoCS) have been visualized by electron microscopy, but their location in the crowded perinuclear area has hampered their analysis via optical microscopy as well as their mechanistic study. To overcome these limits we developed a FRET-based approach and screened several candidates to search for molecular determinants of the ERTGoCS. These included the ER membrane proteins VAPA and VAPB and lipid transfer proteins possessing dual (ER and TGN) targeting motifs that have been hypothesized to contribute to the maintenance of ERTGoCS, such as the ceramide transfer protein CERT and several members of the oxysterol binding proteins. We found that VAP proteins, OSBP1, ORP9, and ORP10 are required, with OSBP1 playing a redundant role with ORP9, which does not involve its lipid transfer activity, and ORP10 being required due to its ability to transfer phosphatidylserine to the TGN. Our results indicate that both structural tethers and a proper lipid composition are needed for ERTGoCS integrity.

  • Meldonium improves Huntington's disease mitochondrial dysfunction by restoring peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator 1α expression.

    Publication Date: 26/10/2018 on Journal of cellular physiology
    by Di Cristo F, Finicelli M, Digilio FA, Paladino S, Valentino A, Scialò F, D'Apolito M, Saturnino C, Galderisi U, Giordano A, Melone MAB, Peluso G
    DOI: 10.1002/jcp.27602

    Mitochondrial dysfunction seems to play a fundamental role in the pathogenesis of neurodegeneration in Huntington's disease (HD). We assessed possible neuroprotective actions of meldonium, a small molecule affecting mitochondrial fuel metabolism, in in vitro and in vivo HD models. We found that meldonium was able to prevent cytotoxicity induced by serum deprivation, to reduce the accumulation of mutated huntingtin (mHtt) aggregates, and to upregulate the expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator 1α (PGC-1α) in mHTT-expressing cells. The PGC-1α increase was accompanied by the increment of mitochondrial mass and by the rebalancing of mitochondrial dynamics with a promotion of the mitochondrial fusion. Meldonium-induced PGC-1α significantly alleviated motor dysfunction and prolonged the survival of a transgenic HD Drosophila model in which mHtt expression in the nervous system led to progressive motor performance deficits. Our study strongly suggests that PGC-1α, as a master coregulator of mitochondrial biogenesis, energy homeostasis, and antioxidant defense, is a potential therapeutic target in HD.

  • Organization of GPI-anchored proteins at the cell surface and its physiopathological relevance.

    Publication Date: 24/07/2018 on Critical reviews in biochemistry and molecular biology
    by Lebreton S, Zurzolo C, Paladino S
    DOI: 10.1080/10409238.2018.1485627

    Glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteins (GPI-APs) are a class of proteins attached to the extracellular leaflet of the plasma membrane via a post-translational modification, the glycolipid anchor. The presence of both glycolipid anchor and protein portion confers them unique features. GPI-APs are expressed in all eukaryotes, from fungi to plants and animals. They display very diverse functions ranging from enzymatic activity, signaling, cell adhesion, cell wall metabolism, neuritogenesis, and immune response. Likewise other plasma membrane proteins, the spatio-temporal organization of GPI-APs is critical for their biological activities in physiological conditions. In this review, we will summarize the latest findings on plasma membrane organization of GPI-APs and the mechanism of its regulation in different cell types. We will also examine the involvement of specific GPI-APs namely the prion protein PrP, the Folate Receptor alpha and the urokinase plasminogen activator receptor in human diseases focusing on neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.

  • Nrf2 Pathway in Age-Related Neurological Disorders: Insights into MicroRNAs.

    Publication Date: 03/07/2018 on Cellular physiology and biochemistry : international journal of experimental cellular physiology, biochemistry, and pharmacology
    by Paladino S, Conte A, Caggiano R, Pierantoni GM, Faraonio R
    DOI: 10.1159/000491465

    A general hallmark of neurological diseases is the loss of redox homeostasis that triggers oxidative damages to biomolecules compromising neuronal function. Under physiological conditions the steady-state concentrations of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) are finely regulated for proper cellular functions. Reduced surveillance of endogenous antioxidant defenses and/or increased ROS/RNS production leads to oxidative stress with consequent alteration of physiological processes. Neuronal cells are particularly susceptible to ROS/RNS due to their biochemical composition. Overwhelming evidences indicate that nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2)-linked pathways are involved in protective mechanisms against oxidative stress by regulating antioxidant and phase II detoxifying genes. As such, Nrf2 deregulation has been linked to both aging and pathogenesis of many human chronic diseases, including neurodegenerative ones such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Nrf2 activity is tightly regulated by a fine balance between positive and negative modulators. A better understanding of the regulatory mechanisms underlying Nrf2 activity could help to develop novel therapeutic interventions to prevent, slow down or possibly reverse various pathological states. To this end, microRNAs (miRs) are attractive candidates because they are linked to intracellular redox status being regulated and, post-transcriptionally, regulating key components of ROS/RNS pathways, including Nrf2.

  • Targeting Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans as a Novel Therapeutic Strategy for Mucopolysaccharidoses.

    Publication Date: 18/06/2018 on Molecular therapy. Methods & clinical development
    by De Pasquale V, Sarogni P, Pistorio V, Cerulo G, Paladino S, Pavone LM
    DOI: 10.1016/j.omtm.2018.05.002

    Mucopolysaccharidoses (MPSs) are inherited metabolic diseases caused by the deficiency of lysosomal enzymes needed to catabolize glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). Four therapeutic options are currently considered: enzyme replacement therapy, substrate reduction therapy, gene therapy, and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. However, while some of them exhibit limited clinical efficacy and require high costs, others are still in development. Therefore, alternative treatments for MPSs need to be explored. Here we describe an innovative therapeutic approach based on the use of a recombinant protein that is able to bind the excess of extracellular accumulated heparan sulfate (HS). We demonstrate that this protein is able to reduce lysosomal defects in primary fibroblasts from MPS I and MPS IIIB patients. We also show that, by masking the excess of extracellular accumulated HS in MPS fibroblasts, fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signal transduction can be positively modulated. We, therefore, suggest the use of a competitive binding molecule for HS in MPSs as an alternative strategy to prevent the detrimental extracellular substrate storage.