L Faravelli

University of Milan, Milano, Lombardy, Italy

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Publications (6)25.72 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The human ether-a-go-go-related gene (herg) encodes a K+ current (IHERG) that plays a fundamental role in heart excitability by regulating the action potential repolarization (IKr); mutations of this gene are responsible for the chromosome 7-linked long QT syndrome (LQT2). In this report, we show that in a variety (n = 17) of tumor cell lines of different species (human and murine) and distinct histogenesis (neuroblastoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, adenocarcinoma, lung microcytoma, pituitary tumors, insulinoma beta-cells, and monoblastic leukemia), a novel K+ inward-rectifier current (IIR), which is biophysically and pharmacologically similar to IHERG, can be recorded with the patch-clamp technique. Northern blot experiments with a human herg cDNA probe revealed that both in human and murine clones the very high expression of herg transcripts can be quantified in at least three clearly identifiable bands, suggesting an alternative splicing of HERG mRNA. Moreover, we cloned a cDNA encoding for IIR from the SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma. The sequence of this cDNA result was practically identical to that already reported for herg, indicating a high conservation of this gene in tumors. Consistently, the expression of this clone in Xenopus oocytes showed that the encoded K+ channel had substantially all of the biophysical and pharmacological properties of the native IIR described for tumor cells. In addition, in the tumor clones studied, IIR governs the resting potential, whereas it could not be detected either by the patch clamp or the Northern blot techniques in cells obtained from primary cell cultures of parental tissues (sensory neurons and myotubes), whose resting potential is controlled by the classical K+ anomalous rectifier current. This current substitution had a profound impact on the resting potential, which was markedly depolarized in tumors as compared with normal cells. These results suggest that IIR is normally only expressed during the early stages of cell differentiation frozen by neoplastic transformation, playing an important pathophysiological role in the regulatory mechanisms of neoplastic cell survival. In fact, because of its biophysical features, IIR, besides keeping the resting potential within the depolarized values required for unlimited tumor growth, could also appear suitable to afford a selective advantage in an ischemic environment.
    Cancer Research 03/1998; 58(4):815-22. · 8.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Combretastatin B1, a polyhydroxybibenzyl compound extracted from the fruit of Combretum kraussii, known to contain 'hiccup nut' toxin, reversibly increased the duration, but not the peak or the rate of rise, of the action potential in rat sensory neurones by approximately 300%. This effect was only seen when it was applied to the extracellular side of the membrane. No effects on the resting potential were observed. K+ delayed rectifier currents were inhibited in neurones and in human myotubes with an IC50 of about 300 microM; the HERG-type inward rectifier channels in tumour cells were inhibited to a greater degree. Due to its selective action and the similarity of its blockade to that produced by class III antiarrhythmic drugs, the toxin could be the origin of compounds of potentially significant pharmacological interest.
    Neuroreport 12/1996; 7(15-17):2575-9. · 1.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Changes in the resting potential (VREST) and in the underlying ionic conductances were measured by the patch-clamp technique in SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells exposed to substrate-bound or soluble Laminin (bLN; sLN), as compared to integrin-independent substrates (polylysine (PL); bovine serum albumin (BSA)). While PL and BSA were ineffective, both forms of LN caused an early (5-15 min) activation of a peculiar type of Inwardly Rectifying K+ current (IIR) characterised by a voltage-dependent inactivation in the range of membrane potentials around -50/0 mV. IIR was blocked by Cs+ ions and by the antiarrhythmic drug E-4031, a specific inhibitor of the HERG-codified channels. In cells adherent to bLN, IIR potentiation (85%) persisted for 90-120 min and was accompanied by a similar, but transient, increase in the leakage conductance (GL). Successively, the persistence of a high IIR conductance and the decrease of GL progressively bring VREST from -12 to approximately -30 mV in about 120 min. On the other hand, in cells adherent to PL, exposure to sLN produced a similar but not persistent activation of IIR, without any increase in GL: this caused a rapid, transient hyperpolarisation of VREST. The effects of bLN and sLN were mimicked by antibodies raised against the integrin beta 1 subunit, suggesting a specific integrin-mediated mechanism. In fact, when bound to the culture dishes, these antibodies simultaneously activated the IIR and GL, whereas in soluble form they only activated IIR. Cells adherent to bLN emitted neurites, a process impaired by the block of IIR by E-4031 and Cs+. On the whole data suggest that the integrin-mediated activation of IIR plays a crucial role in the commitment to neuritogenesis of neuroblastoma cells, independently on the effects of this activation on VREST.
    Cell adhesion and communication 12/1996; 4(4-5):369-85.
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    L Faravelli, A Arcangeli, M Olivotto, E Wanke
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    ABSTRACT: 1. The relationships between the K+ inward rectifier current present in neuroblastoma cells (IIR) and the current encoded by the human ether-á-go-go-related gene (HERG), IHERG, and the rapidly activating repolarizing cardiac current IK(r), were investigated in a rat dorsal root ganglion (DRG) x mouse neuroblastoma hybrid cell line (F-11) using pharmacological and biophysical treatments. 2. IIR shared the pharmacological features described for IK(r), including the sensitivity to the antiarrhythmic drugs E4301 and WAY-123,398, whilst responding to Cs+, Ba2+ and La3+ in a similar way to IHERG. 3. The voltage-dependent gating properties of IIR were similar to those of IK(r) and IHERG, although IIR outward currents were negligible in comparison. 4. In high K+ extracellular solutions devoid of divalent cations, IIR deactivation kinetics were removed resulting in long-lasting currents apparently activated in hyperpolarization, with a marked (2.7-fold) increase in conductance, as recorded from the instantaneous linear current-voltage relationship at -120 mV. Re-addition of Ca2+ restored the original closure of the channel whereas re-addition of Mg2+ reduced the peak current. 5. The IIR described here, the heart IK(r) and the IHERG could be successfully predicted by a unique kinetic model where the voltage dependencies of the activation/inactivation gates were properly voltage shifted. On the whole, IIR seems to be the first example of a HERG-type current constitutively expressed and operating in mammalian cells of the neuronal lineage.
    The Journal of Physiology 11/1996; 496 ( Pt 1):13-23. · 4.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It has been established that the adult mouse forebrain contains multipotential (neuronal/glial) progenitor cells that can be induced to proliferate in vitro when epidermal growth factor is provided. These cells are found within the subventricular zone of the lateral ventricles, together with other progenitor cell populations, whose requirements for proliferation remain undefined. Using basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), we have isolated multipotential progenitors from adult mouse striatum. These progenitors proliferate and can differentiate into cells displaying the antigenic properties of astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and neurons. The neuron-like cells possess neuronal features, exhibit neuronal electrophysiological properties, and are immunoreactive for GABA, substance P, choline acetyl-transferase, and glutamate. Clonal analysis confirmed the multipotency of these bFGF-dependent cells. Most significantly, subcloning experiments demonstrated that they were capable of self-renewal, which led to a progressive increase in population size over serial passaging. These results demonstrate that bFGF is mitogenic for multipotential cells from adult mammalian forebrain that possess stem cell properties.
    Journal of Neuroscience 03/1996; 16(3):1091-100. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: 1. Human and murine neuroblastoma cell lines were used to investigate, by the whole-cell patch-clamp technique, the properties of a novel inward-rectifying K+ current (IIR) in the adjustment of cell resting potential (Vrest), which was in the range -40 to -20 mV. 2. When elicited from a holding potential of 0 mV, IIR was completely inactivated with time constants ranging from 13 ms at -140 mV to 4.5 s at -50 mV. The steady-state inactivation curve (h(V)) was found to be independent of [Na+]o and [K+]o (2-80 mM) and could be fitted to a Boltzmann curve with a steep slope factor of 5-6, and a V1/2 around Vrest. Divalent ion-free extracellular solutions shifted h(V) to the left by about 28 mV. 3. Peak chord conductance, whose maximal value was approximately proportional to the square root of [K+]o, could be fitted to a Boltzmann curve independently of [K+]o, with a V1/2 value around -48 mV and a slope factor of 18. Extracellular Cs+ and Ba2+ blocked the IIR in a concentration- and voltage-dependent manner, but Ba2+ was less effective than it is on classical inward-rectifier channels. 4. Under control culture conditions the values of Vrest and V1/2 of h(V) varied widely among cells. The knowledge of V1/2 proved crucial or the theoretical prediction of Vrest. After cell synchronization in the G0-G1 phase of the cell cycle, or at the G1-S boundaries, the cells reduced their variability of h(V). The same occurred after cell synchronization in G1 by treatment with retinoic acid. 5. The experimental data could be fitted to a classical model of an inward rectifier, after removing the dependence of conductance activation on (V-EK), and incorporating an inactivation with an intrinsic voltage dependence. Moreover, the model predicts, for this novel inward rectifier and in contrast with the classical inward rectifier, the incapacity of maintaining, in physiological media, a Vrest more negative than -35 to -40 mV, which is an important feature of cancer cells.
    The Journal of Physiology 01/1996; 489 ( Pt 2):455-71. · 4.38 Impact Factor