Laura Antonucci

Sapienza University of Rome, Roma, Latium, Italy

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Publications (7)54.4 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: CCHC-type zinc finger nucleic acid binding protein (CNBP) is a small conserved protein, which plays a key role in development and disease. Studies in animal models have shown that the absence of CNBP results in severe developmental defects that have been mostly attributed to its ability to regulate c-Myc mRNA expression. Functionally, CNBP binds single-stranded nucleic acids and acts as a molecular chaperone, thus regulating both transcription and translation. In this work we report that in Drosophila melanogaster, CNBP is an essential gene, whose absence causes early embryonic lethality. In contrast to what observed in other species, ablation of CNBP does not affect dMyc mRNA expression, whereas the protein levels are markedly reduced. We demonstrate for the first time that dCNBP regulates dMyc translation through an IRES-dependent mechanism, and that knockdown of dCNBP in the wing territory causes a general reduction of wing size, in keeping with the reported role of dMyc in this region. Consistently, reintroduction of Myc in CNBP-deficient wing imaginal discs rescues the wing size, further supporting a key role of the CNBP-Myc axis in this context. Collectively, these data show a previously uncharacterized mechanism, whereby, by regulating dMyc IRES-dependent translation, CNBP controls Drosophila wing development. These results may have relevant implications in other species and in pathophysiological conditions.
    Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.) 11/2013; 13(3). DOI:10.4161/cc.27268 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Hedgehog (Hh) signaling regulates tissue development, and its aberrant activation is a leading cause of malignancies, including medulloblastoma (Mb). Hh-dependent tumorigenesis often occurs in synergy with other mechanisms, such as loss of p53, the master regulator of the DNA damage response. To date, little is known about mechanisms connecting DNA-damaging events to morphogen-dependent processes. Here, we show that genotoxic stress triggers a cascade of signals, culminating with inhibition of the activity of Gli1, the final transcriptional effector of Hh signaling. This inhibition is dependent on the p53-mediated elevation of the acetyltransferase p300/CBP-associated factor (PCAF). Notably, we identify PCAF as a novel E3 ubiquitin ligase of Gli1. Indeed PCAF, but not a mutant with a deletion of its ubiquitination domain, represses Hh signaling in response to DNA damage by promoting Gli1 ubiquitination and its proteasome-dependent degradation. Restoring Gli1 levels rescues the growth arrest and apoptosis effect triggered by genotoxic drugs. Consistently, DNA-damaging agents fail to inhibit Gli1 activity in the absence of either p53 or PCAF. Finally, Mb samples from p53-null mice display low levels of PCAF and upregulation of Gli1 in vivo, suggesting PCAF as potential therapeutic target in Hh-dependent tumors. Together, our data define a mechanism of inactivation of a morphogenic signaling in response to genotoxic stress and unveil a p53/PCAF/Gli1 circuitry centered on PCAF that limits Gli1-enhanced mitogenic and prosurvival response.Cell Death and Differentiation advance online publication, 6 September 2013; doi:10.1038/cdd.2013.120.
    Cell death and differentiation 09/2013; 20(12). DOI:10.1038/cdd.2013.120 · 8.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The morphogenic Hedgehog (Hh) signaling regulates postnatal cerebellar development and its aberrant activation leads to medulloblastoma. The transcription factors Gli1 and Gli2 are the activators of Hh pathway and their function is finely controlled by different covalent modifications, such as phosphorylation and ubiquitination. We show here that Gli2 is endogenously acetylated and that this modification represents a key regulatory step for Hedgehog signaling. The histone acetyltransferase (HAT) coactivator p300, but not other HATs, acetylates Gli2 at the conserved lysine K757 thus inhibiting Hh target gene expression. By generating a specific anti acetyl-Gli2(Lys757) antisera we demonstrated that Gli2 acetylation is readily detectable at endogenous levels and is attenuated by Hh agonists. Moreover, Gli2 K757R mutant activity is higher than wild type Gli2 and is no longer enhanced by Hh agonists, indicating that acetylation represents an additional level of control for signal dependent activation. Consistently, in sections of developing mouse cerebella Gli2 acetylation correlates with the activation status of Hedgehog signaling. Mechanistically, acetylation at K757 prevents Gli2 entry into chromatin. Together, these data illustrate a novel mechanism of regulation of the Hh signaling whereby, in concert with Gli1, Gli2 acetylation functions as a key transcriptional checkpoint in the control of morphogen-dependent processes.
    PLoS ONE 06/2013; 8(6):e65718. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0065718 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An appropriate concentration of intracellular T(3) is a critical determinant of placenta development and function and is mainly controlled by the activity of type II deiodinase (D2). The levels of this enzyme are finely regulated in different tissues by coordinated transcriptional mechanisms, which rely on dedicated promoter sequences (e.g. cAMP response element and TATA elements) that impart inducibility and tissue specificity to Dio2 mRNA expression. Here we show that CCAAT enhancer-binding proteins α and β (C/EBPα and C/EBPβ) promote Dio2 expression in the trophoblastic cell line JEG3 through a conserved CCAAT element, which is a novel key component of the Dio2 promoter code that confers tissue-specific expression of D2 in these cells. Increased C/EBPs levels potently induce Dio2 transcription, whereas their ablation results in loss of Dio2 mRNA. By measuring the activity of several deletion and point mutant promoter constructs, we have identified the functional CCAAT element responsible for this effect, which is located in close proximity to the most 5' TATA box. Notably, this newly identified sequence is highly conserved throughout the species and binds in vivo and in vitro C/EBP, indicating the relevance of this regulatory mechanism. Together, our results unveil a novel mechanism of regulation of D2 expression in a trophoblastic cell line, which may play a relevant role during placenta development.
    Endocrinology 06/2012; 153(8):4030-8. DOI:10.1210/en.2011-2113 · 4.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hedgehog signalling is crucial for development and is deregulated in several tumours, including medulloblastoma. Regulation of the transcriptional activity of Gli (glioma-associated oncogene) proteins, effectors of the Hedgehog pathway, is poorly understood. We show here that Gli1 and Gli2 are acetylated proteins and that their HDAC-mediated deacetylation promotes transcriptional activation and sustains a positive autoregulatory loop through Hedgehog-induced upregulation of HDAC1. This mechanism is turned off by HDAC1 degradation through an E3 ubiquitin ligase complex formed by Cullin3 and REN, a Gli antagonist lost in human medulloblastoma. Whereas high HDAC1 and low REN expression in neural progenitors and medulloblastomas correlates with active Hedgehog signalling, loss of HDAC activity suppresses Hedgehog-dependent growth of neural progenitors and tumour cells. Consistent with this, abrogation of Gli1 acetylation enhances cellular proliferation and transformation. These data identify an integrated HDAC- and ubiquitin-mediated circuitry, where acetylation of Gli proteins functions as an unexpected key transcriptional checkpoint of Hedgehog signalling.
    Nature Cell Biology 02/2010; 12(2):132-42. DOI:10.1038/ncb2013 · 19.68 Impact Factor
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    Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.) 05/2009; 8(7):963-4. DOI:10.4161/cc.8.7.8114 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Regulation of gene expression in response to mitogenic stimuli is a critical aspect underlying many forms of human cancers. The AP-1 complex mediates the transcriptional response to mitogens, and its deregulation causes developmental defects and tumors. We report that the coactivator CRTC1 cyclic AMP response element-binding protein (CREB)-regulated transcription coactivator 1 is a potent and indispensable modulator of AP-1 function. After exposure of cells to the AP-1 agonist 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA), CRTC1 is recruited to AP-1 target gene promoters and associates with c-Jun and c-Fos to activate transcription. CRTC1 consistently synergizes with the proto-oncogene c-Jun to promote cellular growth, whereas AP-1-dependent proliferation is abrogated in CRTC1-deficient cells. Remarkably, we demonstrate that CRTC1-Maml2 oncoprotein, which causes mucoepidermoid carcinomas, binds and activates both c-Jun and c-Fos. Consequently, ablation of AP-1 function disrupts the cellular transformation and proliferation mediated by this oncogene. Together, these data illustrate a novel mechanism required to couple mitogenic signals to the AP-1 gene regulatory program.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2009; 106(5):1445-50. DOI:10.1073/pnas.0808749106 · 9.67 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

150 Citations
54.40 Total Impact Points


  • 2009–2013
    • Sapienza University of Rome
      • • Department of Molecular Medicine
      • • Department of Experimental Medicine
      Roma, Latium, Italy