Umberto Galderisi

Professor of Molecular Biology

Name Umberto
Surname Galderisi
Institution Università degli Studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli
Telephone +39 081 566 75 85
Address Dept. of Experimental Medicine, Via Luigi De Crecchio 7 – 80138 Napoli, Italy
Umberto Galderisi


  • Role of RB and RB2/P130 genes in marrow stromal stem cells plasticity.

    Publication Date: 01/08/2004 on Journal of cellular physiology
    by Jori FP, Napolitano MA, Melone MA, Cipollaro M, Cascino A, Giordano A, Galderisi U
    DOI: 10.1002/jcp.20026

    Marrow stromal cells (MSCs) are stem-like cells having a striking somatic plasticity. In fact, besides differentiating into mesenchymal lineages (bone, cartilage, and fat), they are capable of differentiating into neurons and astrocytes in vitro and in vivo. The RB and RB2/P130 genes, belonging to the retinoblastoma gene family, play a key role in neurogenesis, and for this reason, we investigated their role in neural commitment and differentiation of MSCs. In MSCs that were either uncommitted or committed toward neural differentiation, we ectopically expressed RB and RB2/P130 genes and analyzed their role in regulating the cell cycle, apoptosis and differentiation. In uncommitted MSCs, the activity of RB and RB2/P130 appeared limited to negatively regulating cell cycle progression, having no role in apoptosis and differentiation (toward either mesenchymal or neural lineages). On the other hand, in MSCs committed toward the neural phenotype, both RB and RB2/P130 reduced cell proliferation rate and affected the apoptotic process. RB protected differentiating cells from programmed cell death. On the contrary, RB2/P130 increased the percentage of cells in apoptosis. All of these activities were accomplished mainly in an HDAC-independent way. The retinoblastoma genes also influenced differentiation in neural committed MSCs. RB2/P130 contributes mainly to the induction of generic neural properties, while RB triggers cholinergic differentiation. These differentiating activities are HDAC-dependent. Our research shows that there is a critical temporal requirement for the RB genes during neuronal differentiation of MSCs: they are not required for cell commitment but play a role in the maturation process. For the above reasons, RB and RB2/P130 may have a role in neural differentiation but not in neural determination.

  • Genetic characterization of Pompeii and Herculaneum Equidae buried by Vesuvius in 79 AD.

    Publication Date: 01/05/2004 on Journal of cellular physiology
    by Di Bernardo G, Galderisi U, Del Gaudio S, D'Aniello A, Lanave C, De Robertis MT, Cascino A, Cipollaro M
    DOI: 10.1002/jcp.10461

    DNA extracted from the skeletons of five equids discovered in a Pompeii stable and of a horse found in Herculaneum was investigated. Amino acid racemization level was consistent with the presence of DNA. Post-mortem base modifications were excluded by sequencing a 146 bp fragment of the 16S rRNA mitochondrial gene. Sequencing of a 370 bp fragment of mitochondrial (mt)DNA control region allowed the construction of a phylogenetic tree that, along with sequencing of nuclear genes (epsilon globin, gamma interferon, and p53) fragments, gave us the possibility to address some questions puzzling archaeologists. What animals-donkeys, horses, or crossbreeds-were they? And, given they had been evidently assigned to one specific job, were they all akin or were they animals with different mitochondrial haplotypes? The conclusions provided by molecular analysis show that the Pompeii remains are those of horses and mules. Furthermore one of the equids (CAV5) seems to belong to a haplotype, which is either not yet documented in the GenBank or has since disappeared. As its characteristics closely recall those of donkeys, which is the out group chosen to construct the tree, that appears to have evolved within the Equidae family much earlier than horses, this assumption seems to be nearer the truth.

  • Stenosis progression after surgical injury in Milan hypertensive rat carotid arteries.

    Publication Date: 01/12/2003 on Cardiovascular research
    by Forte A, Esposito S, De Feo M, Galderisi U, Quarto C, Esposito F, Renzulli A, Berrino L, Cipollaro M, Agozzino L, Cotrufo M, Rossi F, Cascino A

    Milan hypertensive rats (MHS) are characterised by an increase in renal sodium reabsorption mainly related to adducin mutations. Interest in this model relies on the genetic link between adducin polymorphisms and primary hypertension, observed also in a subset of patients.

  • Cell cycle regulation and neural differentiation.

    Publication Date: 11/08/2003 on Oncogene
    by Galderisi U, Jori FP, Giordano A
    DOI: 10.1038/sj.onc.1206558

    The general mechanisms that control the cell cycle in mammalian cells have been studied in depth and several proteins that are involved in the tight regulation of cell cycle progression have been identified. However, the analysis of which molecules participate in cell cycle exit of specific cell lineages is not exhaustive yet. Moreover, the strict relation between cell cycle exit and induction of differentiation has not been fully understood and seems to depend on the cell type. Several in vivo and in vitro studies have been performed in the last few years to address these issues in cells of the nervous system. In this review, we focus our attention on cyclin-cyclin-dependent kinase complexes, cyclin kinase inhibitors, genes of the retinoblastoma family, p53 and N-Myc, and we aim to summarize the latest evidence indicating their involvement in the control of the cell cycle and induction of differentiation in different cell types of the peripheral and central nervous systems. Studies on nervous system tumors and a possible contributory role in tumorigenesis of polyomavirus T antigen are reported to point out the critical contribution of some cell cycle regulators to normal neural and glial development.

  • EGF-responsive rat neural stem cells: molecular follow-up of neuron and astrocyte differentiation in vitro.

    Publication Date: 01/05/2003 on Journal of cellular physiology
    by Jori FP, Galderisi U, Piegari E, Cipollaro M, Cascino A, Peluso G, Cotrufo R, Giordano A, Melone MA
    DOI: 10.1002/jcp.10249

    Neural stem cells (NSCs) could be very useful for the "cell therapy" treatment of neurological disorders. For this reason basic studies aiming to well characterize the biology of NSCs are of great interest. We carried out a molecular and immunocytochemical analysis of EGF-responsive NSCs obtained from rat pups. After the initial growth of NSCs as floating neurospheres in EGF-containing medium, cells were plated on poly-L-ornithine-coated dishes either in the presence or absence of EGF. We followed cell differentiation and apoptosis for 21 days in vitro and analyzed the expression levels of some genes having a major role in these processes, such as pRB, pRB2/p130, p27, and p53. We observed that EGF impairs neuronal differentiation. Furthermore, in the absence of mitogens, apoptosis, which appeared to proceed through the "p53 network," was significantly lower than in the presence of EGF. The cyclin kinase inhibitor p27, while important for cell cycle exit, seemed dispensable for cell survival and differentiation.

  • Gene expression and morphological changes in surgically injured carotids of spontaneously hypertensive rats.

    Publication Date: 01/03/2002 on Journal of vascular research
    by Forte A, Di Micco G, Galderisi U, De Feo M, Esposito F, Esposito S, Renzulli A, Berrino L, Cipollaro M, Agozzino L, Cotrufo M, Rossi F, Cascino A
    DOI: 10.1159/000057760

    The expression profiles of genes involved in cell proliferation, differentiation and programmed death were investigated in carotids of spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) treated with a model of surgical injury that mimics events occurring during arterial grafts, endarterectomy and organ transplantation. The mRNA level of the c-myc, angiotensin II receptor 1 (AT1), Rb/p105, Rb2/p130, Bcl-2 and Bax-alpha genes was assessed by a semi-quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) technique at different times up to 48 h after injury, while the morphological changes were evaluated 30 days after injury. The proliferation marker c-myc increases almost immediately, peaks after 4 h and returns to basal levels after 24 h; the AT1 receptor mRNA reaches its maximal level 48 h after injury. The level of cell cycle exit markers Rb/p105 and Rb2/p130 gradually decreases after injury. The apoptosis marker Bcl-2/Bax-alpha ratio shows a significant reduction only 4 h after injury, resuming the initial value after 24 and 48 h. Morphological analysis reveals that surgical injury in SHR induces adventitial and medial constrictive remodeling changes rather than intima proliferation as in balloon angioplasty. Both molecular and histological data show substantial differences with respect to normotensive rats.

  • Enzymatic repair of selected cross-linked homoduplex molecules enhances nuclear gene rescue from Pompeii and Herculaneum remains.

    Publication Date: 15/02/2002 on Nucleic acids research
    by Di Bernardo G, Del Gaudio S, Cammarota M, Galderisi U, Cascino A, Cipollaro M

    Ancient DNA (aDNA) samples extracted from the bone remains of six equids buried by the Vesuvius eruption in 79 AD were investigated to test pre-amplification and enzymatic repair procedures designed to enhance the rescue of nuclear genes. The extracts, which proved all positive for Equidae mtDNA amplification, proved positive only four times out of 18 when tested for single-copy Equidae nuclear genes (epsilon globin, p53 and gamma interferon). Pre-amplification did not change the number of retrieved aDNA sequences but 10 times out of 14 enzymatic repair restored the amplifiability of the genes analysed, proving that repair increases the rate of successful rescue from 22 to alpha(lambda)mu(omicron)sigma(tau) 80%. These findings support the hypothesis that some of these cross-linked aDNA molecules, which are not completely separated when DNA is extracted under denaturing conditions, become homoduplex substrates for Pol I and/or T4 ligase action upon renaturation. aDNA authenticity is proved by the homology of the nucleotide sequences of loci tested to the corresponding modern Equidae sequences. Data also indicate that cross-linked homoduplex molecules selected by denaturation of the extract are repaired without any chimera formation. The general features of aDNA amplification with and without denaturation and enzymatic repair are discussed.

  • RB2/p130 ectopic gene expression in neuroblastoma stem cells: evidence of cell-fate restriction and induction of differentiation.

    Publication Date: 15/12/2001 on The Biochemical journal
    by Jori FP, Galderisi U, Piegari E, Peluso G, Cipollaro M, Cascino A, Giordano A, Melone MA

    The activity of the RB2/p130 gene, which is a member of the retinoblastoma gene family, is cell-cycle-regulated and plays a key role in growth inhibition and differentiation. We used neuroblastoma cell lines as a model for studies on neural crest progenitor cell differentiation. We show that Rb2/p130 ectopic protein expression induces morphological and molecular modifications, promoting differentiation of intermediate (I) phenotype SK-N-BE(2)-C neuroblastoma cells towards a neuroblastic (N) rather than a Schwann/glial/melanocytic (S) phenotype. These modifications are stable as they persist even after treatment with an S-phenotype inducer. Rb2/p130 ectopic expression also induces a more differentiated phenotype in N-type SH-SY-5Y cells. Further, this function appears to be independent of cell-cycle withdrawal. The data reported suggest that the Rb2/p130 protein is able to induce neuronal lineage specification and differentiation in neural crest stem and committed neuroblastoma cells, respectively. Thus, the Rb2/p130 protein seems to be required throughout the full neural maturation process.

  • Clinical trials of a new class of therapeutic agents: antisense oligonucleotides.

    Publication Date: 01/04/2001 on Expert opinion on emerging drugs
    by Galderisi U, Cipollaro M, Cascino A
    DOI: 10.1517/14728214.6.1.69

    Antisense oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs) are short stretches of DNA complementary to a target mRNA. The ODNs selectively hybridise to their complementary RNA by Watson-Crick base pairing rules. In theory, the use of antisense ODNs provides a method to specifically inhibit the intracellular expression of any disorder whose genetic aetiology is well known. For this reason, researchers thought that if antisense drugs proved to be so specific there would be no side effects. However, toxicity-related problems arose in initial animal studies of antisense drugs in the early 1990s and since then companies have been using these compounds cautiously. In order to be useful therapeutically, an ODN must (a) exhibit reasonable stability in the physiological environment, (b) be taken up and retained in adequate quantities by the target cells, (c) specifically bind target mRNA with high affinity, (d) have an acceptable therapeutic ratio, free of unwanted toxic and non-specific side effects and (e) be easily synthesised in sufficient quantities to allow clinical use. Most of these criteria have already been met by ODNs recently used in this way. This review describes certain therapeutic applications of antisense techniques currently under investigation in oncology, haematopathology and inflammatory diseases.

  • pRb2/p130 gene overexpression induces astrocyte differentiation.

    Publication Date: 01/03/2001 on Molecular and cellular neurosciences
    by Galderisi U, Melone MA, Jori FP, Piegari E, Di Bernardo G, Cipollaro M, Cascino A, Peluso G, Claudio PP, Giordano A
    DOI: 10.1006/mcne.2000.0949

    There are many data on the activity of the RB gene in neural differentiation and apoptosis, but the role of pRb2/p130 in neuronal and glial maturation has been far less investigated. To elucidate the role of pRb2/p130 in astrocyte development we overexpressed this protein in astrocytoma and normal astrocyte cultures by adenoviral-mediated gene transfer. In astrocytoma cells, p130/RB2 overexpression resulted in a significant reduction of cell growth and in an increased G(0)/G(1) cell population. We did not observe any induction of programmed cell death as determined by TUNEL reaction. Interestingly, pRb2/p130 overexpression induced astrocyte differentiation. Astrocyte cell cycle arrest and differentiation seemed to proceed through a way distinct from the p53 pathway.