Paola Roncaglia

Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati di Trieste, Trst, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy

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Publications (25)190.49 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The mesencephalic dopaminergic (mDA) cell system is composed of two major groups of projecting cells in the Substantia Nigra (SN) (A9 neurons) and the Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA) (A10 cells). Selective degeneration of A9 neurons occurs in Parkinson's disease (PD) while abnormal function of A10 cells has been linked to schizophrenia, attention deficit and addiction. The molecular basis that underlies selective vulnerability of A9 and A10 neurons is presently unknown.
    BMC genomics. 08/2014; 15(1):729.
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    ABSTRACT: Defects in genes encoding ribosomal proteins cause Diamond Blackfan Anemia (DBA), a red cell aplasia often associated with physical abnormalities. Other bone marrow failure syndromes have been attributed to defects in ribosomal components but the link between erythropoiesis and the ribosome remains to be fully defined. Several lines of evidence suggest that defects in ribosome synthesis lead to “ribosomal stress” with p53 activation and either cell cycle arrest or induction of apoptosis. Pathways independent of p53 have also been proposed to play a role in DBA pathogenesis. We took an unbiased approach to identify p53-independent pathways activated by defects in ribosome synthesis by analyzing global gene expression in various cellular models of DBA. Ranking-Principal Component Analysis (Ranking-PCA) was applied to the identified datasets to determine whether there are common sets of genes whose expression is altered in these different cellular models. We observed consistent changes in the expression of genes involved in cellular amino acid metabolic process, negative regulation of cell proliferation and cell redox homeostasis. These data indicate that cells respond to defects in ribosome synthesis by changing the level of expression of a limited subset of genes involved in critical cellular processes. Moreover, our data support a role for p53-independent pathways in the pathophysiology of DBA.
    Gene 07/2014; 545(2):282–289. · 2.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Defects in genes encoding ribosomal proteins cause Diamond Blackfan Anemia (DBA), a red cell aplasia often associated with physical abnormalities. Other bone marrow failure syndromes have been attributed to defects in ribosomal components but the link between erythropoiesis and the ribosome remains to be fully defined. Several lines of evidence suggest that defects in ribosome synthesis lead to "ribosomal stress" with p53 activation and either cell cycle arrest or induction of apoptosis. Pathways independent of p53 have also been proposed to play a role in DBA pathogenesis. We took an unbiased approach to identify p53-independent pathways activated by defects in ribosome synthesis by analyzing global gene expression in various cellular models of DBA. Ranking-Principal Component Analysis (Ranking-PCA) was applied to the identified datasets to determine whether there are common sets of genes whose expression is altered in these different cellular models. We observed consistent changes in the expression of genes involved in cellular amino acid metabolic process, negative regulation of cell proliferation and cell redox homeostasis. These data indicate that cells respond to defects in ribosome synthesis by changing the level of expression of a limited subset of genes involved in critical cellular processes. Moreover, our data support a role for p53-independent pathways in the pathophysiology of DBA.
    Gene 05/2014; · 2.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Gene Ontology (GO) (http://www.geneontology.org/) contains a set of terms for describing the activity and actions of gene products across all kingdoms of life. Each of these activities is executed in a location within a cell or in the vicinity of a cell. In order to capture this context, the GO includes a sub-ontology called the Cellular Component (CC) ontology (GO-CCO). The primary use of this ontology is for GO annotation, but it has also been used for phenotype annotation, and for the annotation of images. Another ontology with similar scope to the GO-CCO is the Subcellular Anatomy Ontology (SAO), part of the Neuroscience Information Framework Standard (NIFSTD) suite of ontologies. The SAO also covers cell components, but in the domain of neuroscience.Description: Recently, the GO-CCO was enriched in content and links to the Biological Process and Molecular Function branches of GO as well as to other ontologies. This was achieved in several ways. We carried out an amalgamation of SAO terms with GO-CCO ones; as a result, nearly 100 new neuroscience-related terms were added to the GO. The GO-CCO also contains relationships to GO Biological Process and Molecular Function terms, as well as connecting to external ontologies such as the Cell Ontology (CL). Terms representing protein complexes in the Protein Ontology (PRO) reference GO-CCO terms for their species-generic counterparts. GO-CCO terms can also be used to search a variety of databases. In this publication we provide an overview of the GO-CCO, its overall design, and some recent extensions that make use of additional spatial information. One of the most recent developments of the GO-CCO was the merging in of the SAO, resulting in a single unified ontology designed to serve the needs of GO annotators as well as the specific needs of the neuroscience community.
    Journal of biomedical semantics. 10/2013; 4(1):20.
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    ABSTRACT: The consequences of DNA damage generation in mammalian somatic stem cells, including neural stem cells (NSCs), are poorly understood despite their potential relevance for tissue homeostasis. Here, we show that, following ionizing radiation-induced DNA damage, NSCs enter irreversible proliferative arrest with features of cellular senescence. This is characterized by increased cytokine secretion, loss of stem cell markers, and astrocytic differentiation. We demonstrate that BMP2 is necessary to induce expression of the astrocyte marker GFAP in irradiated NSCs via a noncanonical signaling pathway engaging JAK-STAT. This is promoted by ATM and antagonized by p53. Using a SOX2-Cre reporter mouse model for cell-lineage tracing, we demonstrate irradiation-induced NSC differentiation in vivo. Furthermore, glioblastoma assays reveal that irradiation therapy affects the tumorigenic potential of cancer stem cells by ablating self-renewal and inducing astroglial differentiation.
    Stem cell reports. 08/2013; 1(2):123-38.
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    ABSTRACT: The Gene Ontology (GO) facilitates the description of the action of gene products in a biological context. Many GO terms refer to chemical entities that participate in biological processes. To facilitate accurate and consistent systems-wide biological representation, it is necessary to integrate the chemical view of these entities with the biological view of GO functions and processes. We describe a collaborative effort between the GO and the Chemical Entities of Biological Interest (ChEBI) ontology developers to ensure that the representation of chemicals in the GO is both internally consistent and in alignment with the chemical expertise captured in ChEBI. We have examined and integrated the ChEBI structural hierarchy into the GO resource through computationally-assisted manual curation of both GO and ChEBI. Our work has resulted in the creation of computable definitions of GO terms that contain fully defined semantic relationships to corresponding chemical terms in ChEBI. The set of logical definitions using both the GO and ChEBI has already been used to automate aspects of GO development and has the potential to allow the integration of data across the domains of biology and chemistry. These logical definitions are available as an extended version of the ontology from http://purl.obolibrary.org/obo/go/extensions/go-plus.owl.
    BMC Genomics 07/2013; 14(1):513. · 4.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: SCA28 is an autosomal dominant ataxia associated with AFG3L2 gene mutations. We performed a whole genome expression profiling using lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) from four SCA28 patients and six unrelated healthy controls matched for sex and age. METHODS: Gene expression was evaluated with the Affymetrix GeneChip Human Genome U133A 2.0 Arrays and data were validated by real-time PCR. RESULTS: We found 66 genes whose expression was statistically different in SCA28 LCLs, 35 of which were up-regulated and 31 down-regulated. The differentially expressed genes were clustered in five functional categories: (1) regulation of cell proliferation; (2) regulation of programmed cell death; (3) response to oxidative stress; (4) cell adhesion, and (5) chemical homeostasis. To validate these data, we performed functional experiments that proved an impaired SCA28 LCLs growth compared to controls (p < 0.005), an increased number of cells in the G0/G1 phase (p < 0.001), and an increased mortality because of apoptosis (p < 0.05). We also showed that respiratory chain activity and reactive oxygen species levels was not altered, although lipid peroxidation in SCA28 LCLs was increased in basal conditions (p < 0.05). We did not detect mitochondrial DNA large deletions. An increase of TFAM, a crucial protein for mtDNA maintenance, and of DRP1, a key regulator of mitochondrial dynamic mechanism, suggested an alteration of fission/fusion pathways. CONCLUSIONS: Whole genome expression profiling, performed on SCA28 LCLs, allowed us to identify five altered functional categories that characterize the SCA28 LCLs phenotype, the first reported in human cells to our knowledge.
    BMC Medical Genomics 06/2013; 6(1):22. · 3.91 Impact Factor
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    Nucleic Acids Research 01/2013; · 8.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the last decade, carbon nanotube growth substrates have been used to investigate neurons and neuronal networks formation in vitro when guided by artificial nano-scaled cues. Besides, nanotube-based interfaces are being developed, such as prosthesis for monitoring brain activity. We recently described how carbon nanotube substrates alter the electrophysiological and synaptic responses of hippocampal neurons in culture. This observation highlighted the exceptional ability of this material in interfering with nerve tissue growth. Here we test the hypothesis that carbon nanotube scaffolds promote the development of immature neurons isolated from the neonatal rat spinal cord, and maintained in vitro. To address this issue we performed electrophysiological studies associated to gene expression analysis. Our results indicate that spinal neurons plated on electro-conductive carbon nanotubes show a facilitated development. Spinal neurons anticipate the expression of functional markers of maturation, such as the generation of voltage dependent currents or action potentials. These changes are accompanied by a selective modulation of gene expression, involving neuronal and non-neuronal components. Our microarray experiments suggest that carbon nanotube platforms trigger reparative activities involving microglia, in the absence of reactive gliosis. Hence, future tissue scaffolds blended with conductive nanotubes may be exploited to promote cell differentiation and reparative pathways in neural regeneration strategies.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(8):e73621. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Gene Ontology (GO) (http://www.geneontology .org) is a community bioinformatics resource that represents gene product function through the use of structured, controlled vocabularies. The number of GO annotations of gene products has increased due to curation efforts among GO Consortium (GOC) groups, including focused literature-based annota-tion and ortholog-based functional inference. The GO ontologies continue to expand and improve as a result of targeted ontology development, including the introduction of computable logical definitions and development of new tools for the streamlined addition of terms to the ontology. The GOC con-tinues to support its user community through the use of e-mail lists, social media and web-based resources.
    Nucleic Acids Research 11/2012; · 8.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dysregulation of glutamate handling ensuing downregulation of expression and activity levels of the astroglial glutamate transporter EAAT2 is implicated in excitotoxic degeneration of motor neurons in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We previously reported that EAAT2 (a.k.a. GLT-1) is cleaved by caspase-3 at its cytosolic carboxy-terminus domain. This cleavage results in impaired glutamate transport activity and generates a proteolytic fragment (CTE) that we found to be post-translationally conjugated by SUMO1. We show here that this sumoylated CTE fragment accumulates in the nucleus of spinal cord astrocytes of the SOD1-G93A mouse model of ALS at symptomatic stages of disease. Astrocytic expression of CTE, artificially tagged with SUMO1 (CTE-SUMO1) to mimic the native sumoylated fragment, recapitulates the nuclear accumulation pattern of the endogenous EAAT2-derived proteolytic fragment. Moreover, in a co-culture binary system, expression of CTE-SUMO1 in spinal cord astrocytes initiates extrinsic toxicity by inducing caspase-3 activation in motor neuron-derived NSC-34 cells or axonal growth impairment in primary motor neurons. Interestingly, prolonged nuclear accumulation of CTE-SUMO1 is intrinsically toxic to spinal cord astrocytes, although this gliotoxic effect of CTE-SUMO1 occurs later than the indirect, noncell autonomous toxic effect on motor neurons. As more evidence on the implication of SUMO substrates in neurodegenerative diseases emerges, our observations strongly suggest that the nuclear accumulation in spinal cord astrocytes of a sumoylated proteolytic fragment of the astroglial glutamate transporter EAAT2 could participate to the pathogenesis of ALS and suggest a novel, unconventional role for EAAT2 in motor neuron degeneration.
    Glia 07/2011; 59(11):1719-31. · 5.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Transplantation of dopaminergic neurons can potentially improve the clinical outcome of Parkinson's disease, a neurological disorder resulting from degeneration of mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons. In particular, transplantation of embryonic-stem-cell-derived dopaminergic neurons has been shown to be efficient in restoring motor symptoms in conditions of dopamine deficiency. However, the use of pluripotent-derived cells might lead to the development of tumours if not properly controlled. Here we identified a minimal set of three transcription factors--Mash1 (also known as Ascl1), Nurr1 (also known as Nr4a2) and Lmx1a--that are able to generate directly functional dopaminergic neurons from mouse and human fibroblasts without reverting to a progenitor cell stage. Induced dopaminergic (iDA) cells release dopamine and show spontaneous electrical activity organized in regular spikes consistent with the pacemaker activity featured by brain dopaminergic neurons. The three factors were able to elicit dopaminergic neuronal conversion in prenatal and adult fibroblasts from healthy donors and Parkinson's disease patients. Direct generation of iDA cells from somatic cells might have significant implications for understanding critical processes for neuronal development, in vitro disease modelling and cell replacement therapies.
    Nature 07/2011; 476(7359):224-7. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The conversion of the cellular prion protein (PrP(C)) to an abnormal and protease-resistant isoform is the key event in prion diseases. Mice lacking PrP(C) are resistant to prion infection, and downregulation of PrP(C) during prion infection prevents neuronal loss and the progression to clinical disease. These results are suggestive of the potential beneficial effect of silencing PrP(C) during prion diseases. However, the silencing of a protein that is widely expressed throughout the central nervous system could be detrimental to brain homeostasis. The physiological role of PrP(C) remains still unclear, but several putative functions (e.g., neuronal development and maintenance) have been proposed. To assess the influence of PrP(C) on gene expression profile in the mouse brain, we undertook a microarray analysis by using RNA isolated from the hippocampus at two different developmental stages: newborn (4.5-day-old) and adult (3-mo-old) mice, both from wild-type and Prnp(0/0) animals. Comparing the different datasets allowed us to identify "commonly" co-regulated genes and "uniquely" deregulated genes during postnatal development. The absence of PrP(C) affected several biological pathways, the most representative being cell signaling, cell-cell communication and transduction processes, calcium homeostasis, nervous system development, synaptic transmission, and cell adhesion. However, there was only a moderate alteration of the gene expression profile in our animal models. PrP(C) deficiency did not lead to a dramatic alteration of gene expression profile and produced moderately altered gene expression levels from young to adult animals. Thus, our results may provide additional support to silencing endogenous PrP(C) levels as therapeutic approach to prion diseases.
    Physiological Genomics 03/2011; 43(12):711-25. · 2.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations in PARK7/DJ-1 are associated with autosomal recessive, early onset Parkinson disease (PD). DJ-1 is an atypical peroxiredoxin-like peroxidase that may act as a redox-dependent chaperone and a regulator of transcription. Here we show that DJ-1 plays an essential role in the expression of rearranged during transfection (RET), a receptor for the glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor, a neuroprotective molecule for dopaminergic neurons, the main target of degeneration in PD. The inducible loss of DJ-1 triggers the establishment of hypoxia and the production of reactive oxygen species that stabilize the hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha (HIF-1a). HIF-1a expression is required for RET down-regulation. This study establishes for the first time a molecular link between the lack of functional DJ-1 and the glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor signaling pathway that may explain the adult-onset loss of dopaminergic neurons. Furthermore, it suggests that hypoxia may play an important role in PD.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 06/2010; 285(24):18565-74. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The regulation of the necrotic death and its relevance in anticancer therapy are largely unknown. Here, we have investigated the proapoptotic and pronecrotic activities of two ubiquitin-proteasome system inhibitors: bortezomib and G5. The present study points out that the glioblastoma cell lines U87MG and T98G are useful models to study the susceptibility to apoptosis and necrosis in response to ubiquitin-proteasome system inhibitors. U87MG cells show resistance to apoptosis induced by bortezomib and G5, but they are more susceptible to necrosis induced by G5. Conversely, T98G cells are more susceptible to apoptosis induced by both inhibitors but show some resistance to G5-induced necrosis. No overt differences in the induction of Noxa and Mcl-1 or in the expression levels of other components of the apoptotic machinery were observed between U87MG and T98G cells. Instead, by comparing the transcriptional profiles of the two cell lines, we have found that the resistance to G5-induced necrosis could arise from differences in glutathione synthesis/utilization and in the microenvironment. In particular, collagen IV, which is highly expressed in T98G cells, and fibronectin, whose adhesive function is counteracted by tenascin-C in U87MG cells, can restrain the necrotic response to G5. Collectively, our results provide an initial characterization of the molecular signals governing cell death by necrosis in glioblastoma cell lines.
    Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 11/2009; 8(11):3140-50. · 5.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The deposition of unconjugated bilirubin (UCB) in selected regions of the brain results in irreversible neuronal damage, or Bilirubin Encephalopathy (BE). Although UCB impairs a large number of cellular functions in other tissues, the basic mechanisms of neurotoxicity have not yet been fully clarified. While cells can accumulate UCB by passive diffusion, cell protection may involve multiple mechanisms including the extrusion of the pigment as well as pro-survival homeostatic responses that are still unknown. Transcriptome changes induced by UCB exposure in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cell line were examined by high density oligonucleotide microarrays. Two-hundred and thirty genes were induced after 24 hours. A Gene Ontology (GO) analysis showed that at least 50 genes were directly involved in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response. Validation of selected ER stress genes is shown by quantitative RT-PCR. Analysis of XBP1 splicing and DDIT3/CHOP subcellular localization is presented. These results show for the first time that UCB exposure induces ER stress response as major intracellular homeostasis in surviving neuroblastoma cells in vitro.
    BMC Genomics 11/2009; 10:543. · 4.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The mesencephalic dopaminergic (mDA) cell system is composed of two major groups of projecting cells in the substantia nigra (SN) (A9 neurons) and the ventral tegmental area (VTA) (A10 cells). A9 neurons form the nigrostriatal pathway and are involved in regulating voluntary movements and postural reflexes. Their selective degeneration leads to Parkinson's disease. Here, we report that gene expression analysis of A9 dopaminergic neurons (DA) identifies transcripts for α- and β-chains of hemoglobin (Hb). Globin immunoreactivity decorates the majority of A9 DA, a subpopulation of cortical and hippocampal astrocytes and mature oligodendrocytes. This pattern of expression was confirmed in different mouse strains and in rat and human. We show that Hb is expressed in the SN of human postmortem brain. By microarray analysis of dopaminergic cell lines overexpressing α- and β-globin chains, changes in genes involved in O2 homeostasis and oxidative phopshorylation were observed, linking Hb expression to mitochondrial function. Our data suggest that the most famed oxygen-carrying globin is not exclusively restricted to the blood, but it may play a role in the normal physiology of the brain and neurodegenerative diseases.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 09/2009; 106(36):15454-15459. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Diamond-Blackfan anaemia (DBA) is a rare inherited red cell hypoplasia characterised by a defect in the maturation of erythroid progenitors and in some cases associated with malformations. Patients have an increased risk of solid tumors. Mutations have been found in several ribosomal protein (RP) genes, i.e RPS19, RPS24, RPS17, RPL5, RPL11, RPL35A. Studies in haematopoietic progenitors from patients show that haplo-insufficiency of an RP impairs rRNA processing and ribosome biogenesis. DBA lymphocytes show reduced protein synthesis and fibroblasts display abnormal rRNA processing and impaired proliferation. To evaluate the involvement of non-haematopoietic tissues in DBA, we have analysed global gene expression in fibroblasts from DBA patients compared to healthy controls. Microarray expression profiling using Affymetrix GeneChip Human Genome U133A 2.0 Arrays revealed that 421 genes are differentially expressed in DBA patient fibroblasts. These genes include a large cluster of ribosomal proteins and factors involved in protein synthesis and amino acid metabolism, as well as genes associated to cell death, cancer and tissue development. This analysis reports for the first time an abnormal gene expression profile in a non-haematopoietic cell type in DBA. These data support the hypothesis that DBA may be due to a defect in general or specific protein synthesis.
    BMC Genomics 09/2009; 10:442. · 4.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A laboratory inbred strain of the annual fish Nothobranchius furzeri shows exceptionally short life expectancy and accelerated expression of age markers. In this study, we analyze new wild-derived lines of this short-lived species. We characterized captive survival and age-related traits in F1 and F2 offspring of wild-caught N. furzeri. Wild-derived N. furzeri lines showed expression of lipofuscin and neurodegeneration at age 21 weeks. Median lifespan in the laboratory varied from to 20 to 23 weeks and maximum lifespan from 25 to 32 weeks. These data demonstrate that rapid age-dependent decline and short lifespan are natural characteristics of this species. The N. furzeri distribution range overlaps with gradients in altitude and aridity. Fish from more arid habitats are expected to experience a shorter survival window in the wild. We tested whether captive lines stemming from semi-arid and sub-humid habitats differ in longevity and expression of age-related traits. We detected a clear difference in age-dependent cognitive decline and a slight difference in lifespan (16% for median, 15% for maximum lifespan) between these lines. Finally, we observed shorter lifespan and accelerated expression of age-related markers in the inbred laboratory strain compared to these wild-derived lines. Owing to large differences in aging phenotypes in different lines, N. furzeri could represent a model system for studying the genetic control of life-history traits in natural populations.
    PLoS ONE 02/2008; 3(12):e3866. · 3.53 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

1k Citations
190.49 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2005–2014
    • Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati di Trieste
      Trst, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy
  • 2013
    • EMBL-EBI
      Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
  • 2009
    • Amedeo Avogadro University of Eastern Piedmont
      • Interdisciplinary Research Center of Autoimmune Diseases IRCAD
      Vercelli, Piedmont, Italy