Valeria Costantino

Professor of Organic Chemistry

Name Valeria
Surname Costantino
Institution University of Naples – Federico II
Address Dipartimento di Farmacia, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, via Domenico Montesano 49, 80131 Napoli, Italy
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Valeria Costantino


  • Simplexide induces CD1d-dependent cytokine and chemokine production from human monocytes.

    Publication Date: 12/11/2014 on PloS one
    by Loffredo S, Staiano RI, Granata F, Costantino V, Borriello F, Frattini A, Lepore MT, Mangoni A, Marone G, Triggiani M
    DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0111326

    Monocytes are major effector cells of innate immunity and recognize several endogenous and exogenous molecules due to the expression of wide spectrum of receptors. Among them, the MHC class I-like molecule CD1d interacts with glycolipids and presents them to iNKT cells, mediating their activation. Simplexide belongs to a novel class of glycolipids isolated from marine sponges and is structurally distinct from other immunologically active glycolipids. In this study we have examined the effects of simplexide on cytokine and chemokine release from human monocytes. Simplexide induces a concentration- and time-dependent release of IL-6, CXCL8, TNF-α and IL-10 and increases the expression of IL6, CXCL8 and IL10 mRNA. Cytokine and chemokine release induced by simplexide from monocytes is dependent on CD1d since: i) a CD1d antagonist, 1,2-bis (diphenylphosphino) ethane [DPPE]-polyethylene glycolmonomethylether [PEG], specifically blocks simplexide-induced activation of monocytes; ii) CD1d knockdown inhibits monocyte activation by simplexide and iii) simplexide induces cytokine production from CD1d-transfected but not parental C1R cell line. Finally, we have shown that simplexide also induces iNKT cell expansion in vitro. Our results demonstrate that simplexide, apart from activating iNKT cells, induces the production of cytokines and chemokines from human monocytes by direct interaction with CD1d.

  • Synthesis and pharmacological evaluation of modified adenosines joined to mono-functional platinum moieties.

    Publication Date: 03/07/2014 on Molecules (Basel, Switzerland)
    by D'Errico S, Oliviero G, Borbone N, Piccialli V, Pinto B, De Falco F, Maiuri MC, Carnuccio R, Costantino V, Nici F, Piccialli G
    DOI: 10.3390/molecules19079339

    The synthesis of four novel platinum complexes, bearing N6-(6-amino-hexyl)adenosine or a 1,6-di(adenosin-N6-yl)-hexane respectively, as ligands of mono-functional cisplatin or monochloro(ethylendiamine)platinum(II), is reported. The chemistry exploits the high affinity of the charged platinum centres towards the N7 position of the adenosine base system and a primary amine of an alkyl chain installed on the C6 position of the purine. The cytotoxic behaviour of the synthesized complexes has been studied in A549 adenocarcinomic human alveolar basal epithelial and MCF7 human breast adenocarcinomic cancer cell lines, in order to investigate their effects on cell viability and proliferation.

  • Polyketide genes in the marine sponge Plakortis simplex: a new group of mono-modular type I polyketide synthases from sponge symbionts.

    Publication Date: 01/12/2013 on Environmental microbiology reports
    by Della Sala G, Hochmuth T, Costantino V, Teta R, Gerwick W, Gerwick L, Piel J, Mangoni A
    DOI: 10.1111/1758-2229.12081

    Sponge symbionts are a largely unexplored source of new and unusual metabolic pathways. Insights into the distribution and function of metabolic genes of sponge symbionts are crucial to dissect and exploit their biotechnological potential. Screening of the metagenome of the marine sponge Plakortis simplex led to the discovery of the swf family, a new group of mono-modular type I polyketide synthase/fatty acid synthase (PKS/FAS) specifically associated with sponge symbionts. Two different examples of the swf cluster were present in the metagenome of P. simplex. A third example of the cluster is present in the previously sequenced genome of a poribacterium from the sponge Aplysina aerophoba but was formerly considered orthologous to the wcb/rkp cluster. The swf cluster was also found in six additional species of sponges. Therefore, the swf cluster represents the second group of mono-modular PKS, after the supA family, to be widespread in marine sponges. The putative swf operon consists of swfA (type I PKS/FAS), swfB (reductase and sulphotransferase domains) and swfC (radical S-adenosylmethionine, or radical SAM). Activation of the acyl carrier protein (ACP) domain of the SwfA protein to its holo-form by co-expression with Svp is the first functional proof of swf type genes in marine sponges. However, the precise biosynthetic role of the swf clusters remains unknown.

  • Smenamides A and B, chlorinated peptide/polyketide hybrids containing a dolapyrrolidinone unit from the Caribbean sponge Smenospongia aurea. Evaluation of their role as leads in antitumor drug research.

    Publication Date: 08/11/2013 on Marine drugs
    by Teta R, Irollo E, Della Sala G, Pirozzi G, Mangoni A, Costantino V
    DOI: 10.3390/md11114451

    An in-depth study of the secondary metabolites contained in the Caribbean sponge Smenospongia aurea led to the isolation of smenamide A (1) and B (2), hybrid peptide/polyketide compounds containing a dolapyrrolidinone unit. Their structures were elucidated using high-resolution ESI-MS/MS and homo- and heteronuclear 2D NMR experiments. Structures of smenamides suggested that they are products of the cyanobacterial metabolism, and 16S rRNA metagenomic analysis detected Synechococcus spongiarum as the only cyanobacterium present in S. aurea. Smenamides showed potent cytotoxic activity at nanomolar levels on lung cancer Calu-1 cells, which for compound 1 is exerted through a clear pro-apoptotic mechanism. This makes smenamides promising leads for antitumor drug design.

  • Tedarenes A and B: structural and stereochemical analysis of two new strained cyclic diarylheptanoids from the marine sponge Tedania ignis.

    Publication Date: 03/08/2012 on The Journal of organic chemistry
    by Costantino V, Fattorusso E, Mangoni A, Perinu C, Teta R, Panza E, Ianaro A
    DOI: 10.1021/jo300295j

    Ring strain causes planar chirality in tedarenes A and B, two cyclic diarylheptanoids isolated from the marine sponge Tedania ignis. In both molecules, the chiral plane is an olefinic system, which is very rare among natural products. In tedarene A (1), interconversion is too fast to allow isolation of the enantiomeric atropisomers but still slow enough to cause coalescence of some (1)H and (13)C NMR signals at room temperature. In tedarene B (2), which also shows stable central and axial chirality, the two planar diastereomers are in slow equilibrium. Tedarene B is the smallest natural product with central, axial, and planar chirality in the same simple molecule. The identification of planar chirality as the difference between its conformational isomers allowed the use of theoretical prediction of the CD spectrum to determine the absolute configuration of the stereogenic carbon C-9 as well as of the biphenyl chiral axis.

  • Chalinulasterol, a chlorinated steroid disulfate from the Caribbean sponge Chalinula molitba. Evaluation of its role as PXR receptor modulator.

    Publication Date: 01/06/2012 on Marine drugs
    by Teta R, Della Sala G, Renga B, Mangoni A, Fiorucci S, Costantino V
    DOI: 10.3390/md10061383

    Chalinulasterol (1) a new chlorinated sterol disulfate was isolated from the Caribbean sponge Chalinula molitba. Its structure was elucidated using mass spectrometry and NMR experiments. The possible role of chalinulasterol as modulator of the PXR nuclear receptor was investigated but, in spite of the close structural relationship with the PXR agonist solomonsterol A (2), it showed no activity. The structural requirements for the PXR nuclear receptor activity were discussed.

  • Development of a fluorescent probe for the study of the sponge-derived simplexide immunological properties.

    Publication Date: 01/02/2012 on Carbohydrate research
    by Di Brisco R, Ronchetti F, Mangoni A, Costantino V, Compostella F
    DOI: 10.1016/j.carres.2011.11.017

    Simplexide is a glycolipid of marine origin, endowed with immunological properties, composed of a long chain secondary alcohol glycosylated by an α-d-glucosyl-(1→4)-β-D-galactosyl disaccharide residue. Herein we describe the preparation of a fluorescent derivative of simplexide, labeled at position 6 of the distal glucose with a dansyl group, as a probe for future studies on the mechanism by which simplexide affects the immune system. Fluorescent simplexide was prepared from a 6″-amino functionalized compound, which in turn was obtained through a highly efficient glycosylation between the preformed activated disaccharide and the long chain secondary alcohol 18-pentatriacontanol.

  • Evaluation of the antiproliferative activity of diterpene isonitriles from the sponge Pseudoaxinella flava in apoptosis-sensitive and apoptosis-resistant cancer cell lines.

    Publication Date: 28/10/2011 on Journal of natural products
    by Lamoral-Theys D, Fattorusso E, Mangoni A, Perinu C, Kiss R, Costantino V
    DOI: 10.1021/np2005055

    One new (1) and three known (2-4) isonitrile diterpenes, isolated from the Caribbean sponge Pseudoaxinella flava, were assayed in human cancer cell lines in vitro using an MTT colorimetric assay and quantitative videomicroscopy. Compounds 1-4 displayed activity for human PC3 prostate apoptosis-sensitive cancer cell lines. Compounds 3 and 4 demonstrated similar growth inhibitory effects for three apoptosis-sensitive and three apoptosis-resistant cancer cell lines. Quantitative videomicroscopy analysis revealed that compounds 1 and 2 exerted their activity through cytotoxic effects, and compounds 3 and 4 through cytostatic effects. These results identify marine diterpene isonitriles as potential lead compounds for anticancer drug discovery.

  • Neurosporaside, a tetraglycosylated sphingolipid from Neurospora crassa.

    Publication Date: 25/04/2011 on Journal of natural products
    by Costantino V, Mangoni A, Teta R, Kra-Oz G, Yarden O
    DOI: 10.1021/np1009493

    The new tetraglycosylceramide neurosporaside (1a) has been isolated from the fungus Neurospora crassa. Neurosporaside is a tetraglycosylated glycosphingolipid characterized by a sugar chain unprecedented among natural glycoconjugates. The structure of neurosporaside was elucidated by extensive spectroscopic analysis and microscale degradation analysis, which allowed full structure elucidation using less than 1 mg of compound.

  • The new carotenoid pigment moraxanthin is associated with toxic microalgae.

    Publication Date: 10/02/2011 on Marine drugs
    by Mangoni O, Imperatore C, Tomas CR, Costantino V, Saggiomo V, Mangoni A
    DOI: 10.3390/md9020242

    The new pigment "moraxanthin" was found in natural samples from a fish mortality site in the Inland Bays of Delaware, USA. Pure cultures of the species, tentatively named Chattonella cf. verruculosa, and natural samples contained this pigment as a dominant carotenoid. The pigment, obtained from a 10 L culture of C. cf. verruculosa, was isolated and harvested by HPLC and its structure determined from MS and 1D- and 2D-NMR. The data identified this pigment as a new acylated form of vaucheriaxanthin called moraxanthin after the berry like algal cell. Its presence in pure cultures and in natural bloom samples indicates that moraxanthin is specific to C. cf. verruculosa and can be used as a marker of its presence when HPLC is used to analyze natural blooms samples.