• HMGB1 binds to the KRAS promoter G-quadruplex: a new player in oncogene transcriptional regulation?

    Publication Date: 06/08/2018, on Chemical communications (Cambridge, England)
    by Amato J, Madanayake TW, Iaccarino N, Novellino E, Randazzo A, Hurley LH, Pagano B
    DOI: 10.1039/c8cc03614d

    This communication reports on a possible distinct role of HMGB1 protein. Biophysical studies revealed that HMGB1 binds and stabilizes the G-quadruplex of the KRAS promoter element that is responsible for most of the transcriptional activity. Biological data showed that inhibition of HMGB1 increases KRAS expression. These results suggest that HMGB1 could play a role in the gene transcriptional regulation via the functional recognition of the G-quadruplex.

  • Bullying at Workplace and Brain-Imaging Correlates.

    Publication Date: 04/08/2018, on Journal of clinical medicine
    by Nolfe G, Cirillo M, Iavarone A, Negro A, Garofalo E, Cotena A, Lazazzara M, Zontini G, Cirillo S
    DOI: 10.3390/jcm7080200

    The relationship between psychosocial stress at work and mental health outcome is well-known. Brain-imaging studies hypothesize morphological brain modifications connected to work-related stress. To our knowledge this is the first study describing the link between work characteristics and brain imaging in a sample of work-related psychiatric patients assessed according to standardized clinical and diagnostic criteria. The aims of the study are: (1) to evaluate hippocampal and whole brain volumes in work-related psychiatric disturbances; (2) to verify the relationship between brain changes and the anxious and/or depressive symptoms; (3) to observe the relationship between the brain changes and the degree of the bullying at workplace. The hippocampus and whole brain volumes of 23 patients with work-related adjustment-disorders were compared with 15 controls by means of MRI. MR images highlight a smaller hippocampal volume in patients compared with controls. Significant reduction in the patients' gray matter was found in three brain areas: right inferior temporal gyrus, left cuneus, left inferior occipital gyrus. The reduction of the hippocampi volumes was related to work distress and, above all, to bullying at workplace. The results confirm that the morphological brain abnormalities could be involved in work-related psychiatric disturbances.

  • Visual pursuit of one's own face in disorders of consciousness: a quantitative analysis.

    Publication Date: 30/07/2018, on Brain injury
    by Trojano L, Moretta P, Masotta O, Loreto V, Estraneo A
    DOI: 10.1080/02699052.2018.1504117

    Eye behaviour is important to distinguish minimally conscious state (MCS) from vegetative state (VS).

  • Determinants of therapy switch in multiple sclerosis treatment-naïve patients: A real-life study.

    Publication Date: 25/07/2018, on Multiple sclerosis (Houndmills, Basingstoke, England)
    by Saccà F, Lanzillo R, Signori A, Maniscalco GT, Signoriello E, Lo Fermo S, Repice A, Annovazzi P, Baroncini D, Clerico M, Binello E, Cerqua R, Mataluni G, Bonavita S, Lavorgna L, Zarbo IR, Laroni A, Rossi S, Pareja Gutierrez L, La Gioia S, Frigeni B, Barcella V, Frau J, Cocco E, Fenu G, Torri Clerici V, Sartori A, Rasia S, Cordioli C, Di Sapio A, Pontecorvo S, Grasso R, Barrilà C, Russo CV, Esposito S, Ippolito D, Bovis F, Gallo F, Sormani MP,
    DOI: 10.1177/1352458518790390

    With many options now available, first therapy choice is challenging in multiple sclerosis (MS) and depends mainly on neurologist and patient preferences.

  • 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.

  • Carnitine Precursors and Short-Chain Acylcarnitines in Water Buffalo Milk.

    Publication Date: 24/07/2018, on Journal of agricultural and food chemistry
    by Servillo L, D'Onofrio N, Neglia G, Casale R, Cautela D, Marrelli M, Limone A, Campanile G, Balestrieri ML
    DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.8b02963

    Ruminants' milk contains δ-valerobetaine originating from rumen through the transformation of dietary N-trimethyllysine. Among ruminant's milk, the occurrence of δ-valerobetaine, along with carnitine precursors and metabolites, has not been investigated in buffalo milk, the second most worldwide consumed milk, well-known for its nutritional value. HPLC-ESI-MS/MS analyses of bulk milk revealed that the Italian Mediterranean buffalo milk contains δ-valerobetaine at levels higher than those in bovine milk. Importantly, we detected also γ-butyrobetaine, the l-carnitine precursor, never described so far in any milk. Of interest, buffalo milk shows higher levels of acetylcarnitine, propionylcarnitine, butyrylcarnitine, isobutyrylcarnitine, and 3-methylbutyrylcarnitine (isovalerylcarnitine) than cow milk. Moreover, buffalo milk shows isobutyrylcarnitine and butyrylcarnitine at a 1-to-1 molar ratio, while in cow's milk this ratio is 5 to 1. Results indicate a peculiar short-chain acylcarnitine profile characterizing buffalo milk, widening the current knowledge about its composition and nutritional value.

  • Common G-Quadruplex Binding Agents Found to Interact With i-Motif-Forming DNA: Unexpected Multi-Target-Directed Compounds.

    Publication Date: 24/07/2018, on Frontiers in chemistry
    by Pagano A, Iaccarino N, Abdelhamid MAS, Brancaccio D, Garzarella EU, Di Porzio A, Novellino E, Waller ZAE, Pagano B, Amato J, Randazzo A
    DOI: 10.3389/fchem.2018.00281

    G-quadruplex (G4) and i-motif (iM) are four-stranded non-canonical nucleic acid structural arrangements. Recent evidences suggest that these DNA structures exist in living cells and could be involved in several cancer-related processes, thus representing an attractive target for anticancer drug discovery. Efforts toward the development of G4 targeting compounds have led to a number of effective bioactive ligands. Herein, employing several biophysical methodologies, we studied the ability of some well-known G4 ligands to interact with iM-forming DNA. The data showed that the investigated compounds are actually able to interact with both DNA , thus acting as multi-target-directed agents. Interestingly, while all the compounds stabilize the G4, some of them significantly reduce the stability of the iM. The present study highlights the importance, when studying G4-targeting compounds, of evaluating also their behavior toward the i-motif counterpart.

  • Structural differences between toxic and nontoxic HypF-N oligomers.

    Publication Date: 18/07/2018, on Chemical communications (Cambridge, England)
    by Capitini C, Patel JR, Natalello A, D'Andrea C, Relini A, Jarvis JA, Birolo L, Peduzzo A, Vendruscolo M, Matteini P, Dobson CM, De Simone A, Chiti F
    DOI: 10.1039/c8cc03446j

    We have studied two misfolded oligomeric forms of the protein HypF-N, which show similar morphologies but very different toxicities. We measured over 80 intermolecular distance-dependent parameters for each oligomer type using FRET, in conjunction with solution- and solid-state NMR and other biophysical techniques. The results indicate that the formation of a highly organised hydrogen bonded core in the toxic oligomers results in the exposure of a larger number of hydrophobic residues than in the nontoxic species, causing the former to form aberrant interactions with cellular components.

  • Usher syndrome and color vision.

    Publication Date: 17/07/2018, on Current eye research
    by Kurtenbach A, Hahn G, Kernstock C, Hipp S, Zobor D, Stingl K, Kohl S, Bonnet C, Mohand-Saïd S, Sliesoraityte I, Sahel JA, Audo I, Fakin A, Hawlina M, Testa F, Simonelli F, Petit C, Zrenner E
    DOI: 10.1080/02713683.2018.1501804

    Purpose The aim of this study is to report on the results of color vision testing in a European cohort of patients with Usher syndrome (USH). We describe the results in relation to Usher type (USH1, USH2), age and visual acuity. Methods and Methods The color vision of 220 genetically confirmed adult USH patients, aged 18-70 years, was analyzed with one of 3 methods: the Farnsworth D-15 Dichotomous test (D-15) along with the Lanthony desaturated 15 Hue tests (D-15d), the Roth 28-Hue test, or the Ishihara 14-plate test. Visual acuity was measured with either the ETDRS or the SNELLEN charts. The Confusion index, the Selectivity index and the Confusion angle were calculated for the panel tests and used for analysis. The number of plates that could not be read were analyzed for the Ishihara test. Results For the panel tests, the degree of color loss (Confusion index) is similar in both subtypes of USH, but the polarization of error scores (Selectivity index) is significantly lower in USH1 than USH2, showing more diffuse errors than those found in USH2. There is no significant correlation between logMAR visual acuity and the Confusion or the Selectivity indices. Additionally, we find a significant correlation between patient age and the degree and the polarity of the loss only in USH2. There was no difference between USH1 and USH2 in the results of the Ishihara test. Conclusions The examination of color vision in patients with USH, shows a significant difference in the pattern of color vision loss in USH1 and USH2 patients, but not in the severity of the loss. In USH2 we find a correlation between patient age and the degree and the polarity of the loss. These results may be due to differences in the pathogenesis of retinal dystrophy in USH1 and USH2.

  • Structural effects of methylglyoxal glycation, a study on the model protein MNEI.

    Publication Date: 16/07/2018, on Molecular and cellular biochemistry
    by Leone S, Fonderico J, Melchiorre C, Carpentieri A, Picone D
    DOI: 10.1007/s11010-018-3403-z

    The reaction of free amino groups in proteins with reactive carbonyl species, known as glycation, leads to the formation of mixtures of products, collectively referred to as advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs). These compounds have been implicated in several important diseases, but their role in pathogenesis and clinical symptoms' development is still debated. Particularly, AGEs are often associated to the formation of amyloid deposits in conformational diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, and it has been suggested that they might influence the mechanisms and kinetics of protein aggregation. We here present the characterization of the products of glycation of the model protein MNEI with methylglyoxal and their effect on the protein structure. We demonstrate that, despite being an uncontrolled process, glycation occurs only at specific residues of the protein. Moreover, while not affecting the protein fold, it alters its shape and hydrodynamic properties and increases its tendency to fibrillar aggregation. Our study opens the way to in deep structural investigations to shed light on the complex link between protein post-translational modifications, structure, and stability.

  • Migraine as possible red flag of PFO presence in suspected demyelinating disease.

    Publication Date: 15/07/2018, on Journal of the neurological sciences
    by Signoriello E, Cirillo M, Puoti G, Signoriello G, Negro A, Koci E, Melone MAB, Rapacciuolo A, Maresca G, Lus G
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jns.2018.04.042

    To investigate a possible association between isolated white matter lesions suggestive of demyelinating disease in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and patent foramen ovale (PFO) evidence in migraine patients, with or without aura.

  • Hybrid complexes of high and low molecular weight hyaluronan delay in vitro replicative senescence of mesenchymal stromal cells: a pilot study for future therapeutic application.

    Publication Date: 12/07/2018, on Aging
    by Alessio N, Stellavato A, Squillaro T, Del Gaudio S, Di Bernardo G, Peluso G, De Rosa M, Schiraldi C, Galderisi U
    DOI: 10.18632/aging.101493

    Mesenchymal stem cells, a subpopulation of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs), are present in the stroma of several tissues. MSC cultivation for clinical treatments may greatly affect MSC properties. A primary handicap is replicative senescence that impairs MSC functions. Hyaluronan (HA) is present in the extracellular matrix that composes the stem cell niche environment and is under investigation as a key factor for stem cell growth. We evaluated the effect on MSC cultivation of HA hybrid cooperative complexes (HCC) that are obtained from high (H) and low (L) weight molecules (NAHYCO™). We compared this HCC with H-HA and L-HA. We investigated the effects of these HAs on proliferation, cell cycle, apoptosis, senescence, and differentiation following the addition of the polymer solutions in the culture media at concentrations that did not drastically modify the medium viscosity. Interestingly, 0,16% HCC significantly delayed the senescence compared with the controls. This occurred without alteration of the cell cycle, cytotoxicity, or apoptosis. HCCs also promoted adipogenic and chondrogenic differentiation. Our finding could suggest a potential functional role of HCC above the updated scientific reports of its effects and pave the way to optimization of MSC cultivation for therapeutic application.

  • Long Feeding High-Fat Diet Induces Hypothalamic Oxidative Stress and Inflammation, and Prolonged Hypothalamic AMPK Activation in Rat Animal Model.

    Publication Date: 06/07/2018, on Frontiers in physiology
    by Cavaliere G, Viggiano E, Trinchese G, De Filippo C, Messina A, Monda V, Valenzano A, Cincione RI, Zammit C, Cimmino F, Catapano A, Sessa F, Messina G, Monda M, Crispino M, Mollica MP
    DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2018.00818

    The hypothalamus is a key brain region involved in the control of feeding and energy expenditure. Hypothalamic inflammation and oxidative stress are landmarks of both obesity and aging processes, although the molecular mechanisms are still unknown. Therefore, with the aim to understand the neurobiological mechanisms of energy homeostasis during aging, we evaluate the effects of long feeding high-fat diet (HFD) in rats, at different age, on modulation of hypothalamic molecular pathway, oxidative stress, and inflammation. Male Wistar rats were divided into two groups: control group, receiving standard diet (CD), and treated group, receiving HFD. Both groups were treated with the appropriate diet for 1, 3, 6, 12, or 18 weeks. We investigated energy balance and body composition, as well as lipid profile, homeostatic model assessment index, and inflammatory state in serum. Furthermore, we also analyzed, at hypothalamic level, inflammation and oxidative stress, and adenosine monophosphate-dependent kinase (AMPK) and pAMPK expression levels. Our data showed that aging and HFD induce increased energy intake and energy efficiency and decreased energy expenditure associated, at hypothalamic level, with inflammation and oxidative stress and activation of AMPK. Our results indicate that the age at which HFD feeding starts and the diet duration are critical in obesity development. The prolonged activation of hypothalamic AMPK may be related to the alterations in energy homeostasis.

  • 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.

  • Dilated Virchow-Robin space and Parkinson's disease: A case report of combined MRI and diffusion tensor imaging.

    Publication Date: 30/06/2018, on Radiology case reports
    by Conforti R, Sardaro A, Negro A, Caiazzo G, Paccone A, De Micco R, Cirillo S, Tessitore A
    DOI: 10.1016/j.radcr.2018.05.011

    In this manuscript we report the case of a 69-year-old female patient, who suffers from Parkinson's disease (PD) with a dilated Virchow-Robin space (dVRS) on the left anterior perforated substance. During a magnetic resonance imaging examination, the presence of a dVRS was discovered on the left anterior perforated substance. Subsequently, the patient has been subjected to further investigation of magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). The DTI data of our PD patient showed increased peak frequency of left fractional anisotropy and decreases in the distribution of Mean Diffusivity(MD) with changes in the fiber density compared to the normal contralateral tract. We hypothesize that the DTI changes are due to dVRS. In the text a review of the recent literature on the presence of dVRSs, located in mono and bilateral seat, in patients with PD is reported, explaining its possible implications on disease progression, cognitive decline, and worsening of symptoms.