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


  • A case report: bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells from a Rett syndrome patient are prone to senescence and show a lower degree of apoptosis.

    Publication Date: 15/04/2008 on Journal of cellular biochemistry
    by Squillaro T, Hayek G, Farina E, Cipollaro M, Renieri A, Galderisi U
    DOI: 10.1002/jcb.21582

    Rett syndrome (RTT) is one of the most common genetic diseases responsible for a progressive disabling neurodevelopmental disorder. Mutations in the MeCP2 gene were identified in the great majority of RTT patients. MeCP2 protein binds to methylated DNA and produces changes in chromatin structure. This is a key event in regulation of gene expression. It has been suggested that MeCP2 might be important for neuronal development. Moreover, the frequent occurrence of osteoporosis and scoliosis in RTT patients suggests impaired bone formation and/or remodeling. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can differentiate as mesodermal cells such as bone, cartilage cells, and adipocytes. MSCs have been shown to possess great somatic plasticity; in fact, they can differentiate as neurons and astrocytes. We studied RTT patients' MSCs because they are progenitors of osteocytes, and it has been suggested that RTT patients' osteogenesis could be impaired. Moreover, MSCs might represent a useful model for the study of neurogenesis. MSCs from RTT patient showed precocious signs of senescence in a comparison with the MSCs of healthy-patient control groups. This was in agreement with the reduced gene-expression in the control of stem cell self-renewal and upregulation of lineage specific genes, such as those involved in osteogenesis and neural development. Control groups enabled us to observe a lower degree of apoptosis in RTT patient cells. This means that aberrant stem/progenitor cells, instead of being eliminated, can survive and become senescent. Our research provides a new insight into RTT syndrome. Senescence phenomena could be involved in triggering RTT syndrome-associated diseases.

  • Brg1 chromatin remodeling factor is involved in cell growth arrest, apoptosis and senescence of rat mesenchymal stem cells.

    Publication Date: 15/08/2007 on Journal of cell science
    by Napolitano MA, Cipollaro M, Cascino A, Melone MA, Giordano A, Galderisi U
    DOI: 10.1242/jcs.004002

    Self-renewal, proliferation and differentiation properties of stem cells are controlled by key transcription factors. However, their activity is modulated by chromatin remodeling factors that operate at the highest hierarchical level. Studies on these factors can be especially important to dissect molecular pathways governing the biology of stem cells. SWI/SNF complexes are adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-dependent chromatin remodeling enzymes that have been shown to be required for cell cycle control, apoptosis and cell differentiation in several biological systems. The aim of our research was to investigate the role of these complexes in the biology of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). To this end, in MSCs we caused a forced expression of the ATPase subunit of SWI/SNF (Brg1 - also known as Smarca4) by adenoviral transduction. Forced Brg1 expression induced a significant cell cycle arrest of MSCs in culture. This was associated with a huge increase in apoptosis that reached a peak 3 days after transduction. In addition, we observed signs of senescence in cells having ectopic Brg1 expression. At the molecular level these phenomena were associated with activation of Rb- and p53-related pathways. Inhibition of either p53 or Rb with E1A mutated proteins allowed us to hypothesize that both Rb and p53 are indispensable for Brg1-induced senescence, whereas only p53 seems to play a role in triggering programmed cell death. We also looked at the effects of forced Brg1 expression on canonical MSC differentiation in adipocytes, chondrocytes and osteocytes. Brg1 did not induce cell differentiation per se; however, this protein could contribute, at least in part, to the adipocyte differentiation process. In conclusion, our results suggest that whereas some ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling factors, such as ISWI complexes, promote stem cell self-renewal and conservation of an uncommitted state, others cause an escape from 'stemness' and induction of differentiation along with senescence and cell death phenomena.

  • Pathophysiology of stem cells in restenosis.

    Publication Date: 01/05/2007 on Histology and histopathology
    by Forte A, Cipollaro M, Cascino A, Galderisi U
    DOI: 10.14670/HH-22.547

    Recent evidence has shown that vascular function depends not only on cells within the vessels, but is also significantly modulated by circulating cells derived from the bone marrow. A number of studies indicate that an early reendothelialization by circulating endothelial precursors after vascular injury prevents excessive cell proliferation and restenosis. Conversely, other studies concluded that the homing of other cell fractions, consisting mainly of smooth muscle precursors, cause pathological remodelling. Different cell types have been identified and characterized so far as circulating precursors able to participate in vascular repair by homing and differentiating towards endothelial cells or smooth muscle cells. Among these, endothelial precursor cells, smooth muscle progenitor cells, mesenchymal stem cells and others have been described. The origins, the hierarchy, the role and the markers of these different cell populations are still controversial. Nevertheless, different strategies have been developed so far in animal models to induce the mobilization and the recruitment of stem cells to the injury site, based on physical training, hormone injection and application of stem cell-capturing coated stents. It should also be mentioned that the limited data currently available derived from clinical trials provide contrasting results about the effective role of vascular cell precursors in restenosis prevention, thus indicating that conclusions derived from studies in animal models cannot always be directly applied to humans and that caution should be used in the manipulation of circulating progenitor cells for therapeutic strategies.

  • Comparative evaluation of different DNA extraction procedures from food samples.

    Publication Date: 01/03/2007 on Biotechnology progress
    by Di Bernardo G, Del Gaudio S, Galderisi U, Cascino A, Cipollaro M
    DOI: 10.1021/bp060182m

    Five methodologies for extracting DNA from food samples are described. The food products analyzed are from either soybean or maize. They were selected on the basis of the mechanical, thermal, and chemical treatments that they had been subjected to during industrial processing. DNA preparations were evaluated for purity, yield, and average fragment size. Two endogenous genes, soybean lectin gene and alcohol dehydrogenase gene (adh1), were used to assess the degree of DNA degradation at different stages of the transformation chain. The goal of this study was to determine the role that extraction methods play in DNA amplification in order to select the best protocol for a food sample. This comparative evaluation can be specifically useful for detection of genetically modified ingredients in a variety of food matrices.

  • RB and RB2/P130 genes cooperate with extrinsic signals to promote differentiation of rat neural stem cells.

    Publication Date: 01/03/2007 on Molecular and cellular neurosciences
    by Jori FP, Galderisi U, Napolitano MA, Cipollaro M, Cascino A, Giordano A, Melone MA
    DOI: 10.1016/j.mcn.2006.11.009

    Mechanisms governing commitment and differentiation of the cells of the nervous system begin to be elucidated: how extrinsic and intrinsic components are related remains poorly understood. To investigate this issue, we overexpressed genes of the retinoblastoma (Rb) family RB and RB2/p130, which play an important role during nerve cell maturation, in rat neural stem cells (NSCs). Immunostaining of neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes in cultures overexpressing pRb or pRb2/p130 revealed that these genes affect lineage specification of differentiating NSCs. We observed modifications in percentage of differentiated cells indicating a shift towards the phenotype induced by culture conditions. Results were confirmed by detection of the expression levels of differentiation markers by RT-PCR. Analysis of BrdU incorporation and detection of an early marker of apoptosis suggest that the effect of pRb and pRb2/p130 overexpression is not dependent on the inhibition of cell proliferation, nor does it rely on the regulation of cell survival. Our findings suggest that Rb family genes are involved in fate determination of the cells of the nervous system. However, their role seems subsidiary to that of the extrinsic signals that promote lineage specification and appear to be mediated by a direct effect on the acquisition of a specific phenotype.

  • An effective method for adenoviral-mediated delivery of small interfering RNA into mesenchymal stem cells.

    Publication Date: 01/02/2007 on Journal of cellular biochemistry
    by Forte A, Napolitano MA, Cipollaro M, Giordano A, Cascino A, Galderisi U
    DOI: 10.1002/jcb.21025

    Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) promise as a main actor of cell-based therapeutic strategies, due to their intrinsic ability to differentiate along different mesenchymal cell lineages, able to repair the diseased or injured tissue in which they are localized. The application of MSCs in therapies requires an in depth knowledge of their biology and of the molecular mechanisms leading to MSC multilineage differentiation. The knockdown of target genes through small interfering RNA (siRNA) carried by adenoviruses (Ad) represents a valid tool for the study of the role of specific molecules in cell biology. Unfortunately, MSCs are poorly transfected by conventional Ad serotype 5 (Ad5) vectors. We set up a method to obtain a very efficient transduction of rat MSCs with low doses of unmodified Ad5, carrying the siRNA targeted against the mRNA coding for Rb2/p130 (Ad-siRNA-Rb2), which plays a fundamental role in cell differentiation. This method allowed a 95% transduction rate of Ad-siRNA in MSC, along with a siRNA-mediated 85% decrease of Rb2/p130 mRNA and a 70% decrease of Rb2/p130 protein 48 h after transduction with 50 multiplicities of infection (MOIs) of Ad5. The effect on Rb2/p130 protein persisted 15 days after transduction. Finally, Ad-siRNA did not compromise the viability of transduced MSCs neither induced any cell cycle modification. The effective Ad-siRNA-Rb2 we constructed, together with the efficient method of delivery in MSCs we set up, will allow an in depth analysis of the role of Rb2/p130 in MSC biology and multilineage differentiation.

  • The retinoblastoma gene is involved in multiple aspects of stem cell biology.

    Publication Date: 28/08/2006 on Oncogene
    by Galderisi U, Cipollaro M, Giordano A
    DOI: 10.1038/sj.onc.1209736

    Genetic programs controlling self-renewal and multipotentiality of stem cells have overlapping pathways with cell cycle regulation. Components of cell cycle machinery can play a key role in regulating stem cell self-renewal, proliferation, differentiation and aging. Among the negative regulators of cell cycle progression, the RB family members play a prominent role in controlling several aspects of stem cell biology. Stem cells contribute to tissue homeostasis and must have molecular mechanisms that prevent senescence and hold 'stemness'. RB can induce senescence-associated changes in gene expression and its activity is downregulated in stem cells to preserve self-renewal. Several reports evidenced that RB could play a role in lineage specification of several types of stem cells. RB has a role in myogenesis as well as in cardiogenesis. These effects are not only related to its role in suppressing E2F-responsive genes but also to its ability to modulate the activity of tissue-specific transcription factors. RB is also involved in adipogenesis through a strict control of lineage commitment and differentiation of adipocytes as well in determining the switch between brown and white adipocytes. Also, hematopoietic progenitor cells utilize the RB pathway to modulate cell commitment and differentiation. In this review, we will also discuss the role of the other two RB family members: Rb2/p130 and p107 showing that they have both specific and overlapping functions with RB gene.

  • Stem cells and brain cancer.

    Publication Date: 01/01/2006 on Cell death and differentiation
    by Galderisi U, Cipollaro M, Giordano A
    DOI: 10.1038/sj.cdd.4401757

    An increasing body of research is showing that cancers might contain their own stem cells. In fact, cancer cells, like stem cells, can proliferate indefinitely through a deregulated cellular self-renewal capacity. This raises the possibility that some features of tumor cells may be due to cancer stem cells. Stem cell-like cancer cells were isolated from several solid tumors. Now, evidence has shown that brain cancers, such as glioblastomas, medulloblastomas and astrocytomas, also contain cells that may be multipotent neural stem cell-like cells. In this review, we discuss the results of these studies, along with the molecular pathways that could be involved in cancer stem cell physiopathology.

  • Carotid arteriotomy induces different temporal gene expression profiles in normotensive and hypertensive rat strains.

    Publication Date: 01/12/2005 on International journal of molecular medicine
    by Forte A, Galderisi U, De Feo M, Quarto C, Renzulli A, Berrino L, Rossi F, Cascino A, Cipollaro M

    Analysis of gene expression profiles in patients or in animal models affected by cardiovascular diseases may provide insight into therapeutic strategies. In this study, 3 rat strains, Wistar Kyoto (WKY), spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) and the Milan hypertensive rat strain (MHS), have been investigated to assess the influence of genetic background and/or of hypertension on gene expression in arteriotomy-injured carotid arteries (CAs). Expression profiles of genes, c-myc, AT1, AT2, ETA, ETB, Bcl-2, Bax and Bcl-X, were determined by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in the acute phase, from 1 to 48 h, following CA arteriotomy. WKY, SHR and MHS show significant differences in gene expression profiles after CA arteriotomy. c-Myc mRNA is activated earlier and/or to a greater extent in hypertensive strains than in WKY (p<0.05). AT1 mRNA increases in WKY after injury, while it decreases in both SHR and MHS (p<0.05). AT2 shows the opposite behaviour, decreasing in WKY and increasing in hypertensive strains (p<0.05). ETA mRNA decreases in all strains although with different timing and levels, associated with a replacement by ETB mRNA (p<0.05). Bcl-2/Bax ratio gradually decreases in WKY, while it decreases only transiently in SHR and MHS 4 h after injury (p<0.05). Overall data indicate that therapeutic strategies for stenosis prevention should carefully consider the gene expression profile after injury, the genetic background, the kind of vascular trauma and the diseases affecting the animal model or the patient.

  • c-Myc antisense oligonucleotides preserve smooth muscle differentiation and reduce negative remodelling following rat carotid arteriotomy.

    Publication Date: 01/05/2005 on Journal of vascular research
    by Forte A, Galderisi U, De Feo M, Gomez MF, Esposito S, Santè P, Renzulli A, Agozzino L, Hellstrand P, Berrino L, Cipollaro M, Cotrufo M, Rossi F, Cascino A
    DOI: 10.1159/000085379

    The vascular biology of restenosis is complex and not fully understood, thus explaining the lack of effective therapy for its prevention in clinical settings. The role of c-Myc in arteriotomy-induced stenosis, smooth muscle cell (SMC) differentiation and apoptosis was investigated in rat carotids applying full phosphorothioate antisense (AS) oligonucleotides (ODNs).