Iolanda Spera

Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro, Bari, Apulia, Italy

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Publications (5)21.07 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Oxidative stress plays a key role in cardiac diseases, although the sources of reactive oxygen species (ROS) have not been defined conclusively. Recent studies demonstrated that the mitochondrial enzymes monoamine oxidases (MAO) are a major source of ROS in reperfusion injury and decompensated hypertrophy. The present study characterized the molecular mechanisms responsible for the increased activity of MAO. Based upon available information, the activity of these enzymes depends mostly on substrate availability. Therefore, we aimed at identifying the major substrates of MAO in hearts undergoing oxidative stress. Mass spectrometry was used to identify and quantitate potential substrates by comparing their contents in the absence and the presence of MAO inhibition.
    Cardiovascular Research 07/2014; 103(suppl 1):S4. · 5.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pathological changes occur in areas of CNS tissue remote from inflammatory lesions in multiple sclerosis (MS) and its animal model experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE). To determine if oxidative stress is a significant contributor to this non-inflammatory pathology, cortex tissues from mice with clinical signs of EAE were examined for evidence of inflammation and oxidative stress. Histology and gene expression analysis showed little evidence of immune/inflammatory cell invasion but reductions in natural antioxidant levels and increased protein oxidation that paralleled disease severity. Two-dimensional oxyblots and mass-spectrometry-based protein fingerprinting identified glutamine synthetase (GS) as a particular target of oxidation. Oxidation of GS was associated with reductions in enzyme activity and increased glutamate/glutamine levels. The possibility that this may cause neurodegeneration through glutamate excitotoxicity is supported by evidence of increasing cortical Ca(2+) levels in cortex extracts from animals with greater disease severity. These findings indicate that oxidative stress occurs in brain areas that are not actively undergoing inflammation in EAE and that this can lead to a neurodegenerative process due to the susceptibility of GS to oxidative inactivation.
    Neuroscience 06/2011; 185:97-105. · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In Down's syndrome there is evidence that increased gene expression coding for specific cystathionine beta-synthase translates directly into biochemical aberrations, which result in a biochemical and metabolic imbalance of the methyl status. This event is destined to impact mitochondrial function since methylation is a necessary event in mitochondria and relies on the availability and uptake of the methyl donor S-adenosylmethionine. Indeed mitochondrial dysfunctions have been widely described in Down's syndrome, but they have never been correlated to a possible mitochondrial methyl unbalance. In the present study we find that the mitochondrial levels of S-adenosylmethionine are reduced in Down's syndrome compared to control cells demonstrating the effect of the methyl unbalance on mitochondria. The possible role of methylation in mitochondria is discussed and some preliminary results on a possible methylation target are presented.
    Molecular Genetics and Metabolism 03/2011; 102(3):378-82. · 2.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial carriers are a family of transport proteins that shuttle metabolites, nucleotides, and coenzymes across the mitochondrial membrane. The function of only a few of the 35 Saccharomyces cerevisiae mitochondrial carriers still remains to be uncovered. In this study, we have functionally defined and characterized the S. cerevisiae mitochondrial carrier Yhm2p. The YHM2 gene was overexpressed in S. cerevisiae, and its product was purified and reconstituted into liposomes. Its transport properties, kinetic parameters, and targeting to mitochondria show that Yhm2p is a mitochondrial transporter for citrate and oxoglutarate. Reconstituted Yhm2p also transported oxaloacetate, succinate, and fumarate to a lesser extent, but virtually not malate and isocitrate. Yhm2p catalyzed only a counter-exchange transport that was saturable and inhibited by sulfhydryl-blocking reagents but not by 1,2,3-benzenetricarboxylate (a powerful inhibitor of the citrate/malate carrier). The physiological role of Yhm2p is to increase the NADPH reducing power in the cytosol (required for biosynthetic and antioxidant reactions) and probably to act as a key component of the citrate-oxoglutarate NADPH redox shuttle between mitochondria and cytosol. This protein function is based on observations documenting a decrease in the NADPH/NADP+ and GSH/GSSG ratios in the cytosol of ΔYHM2 cells as well as an increase in the NADPH/NADP+ ratio in their mitochondria compared with wild-type cells. Our proposal is also supported by the growth defect displayed by the ΔYHM2 strain and more so by the ΔYHM2ΔZWF1 strain upon H2O2 exposure, implying that Yhm2p has an antioxidant function.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 06/2010; 285(23):17359-17370. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial carriers are a family of transport proteins that shuttle metabolites, nucleotides, and coenzymes across the mitochondrial membrane. The function of only a few of the 35 Saccharomyces cerevisiae mitochondrial carriers still remains to be uncovered. In this study, we have functionally defined and characterized the S. cerevisiae mitochondrial carrier Yhm2p. The YHM2 gene was overexpressed in S. cerevisiae, and its product was purified and reconstituted into liposomes. Its transport properties, kinetic parameters, and targeting to mitochondria show that Yhm2p is a mitochondrial transporter for citrate and oxoglutarate. Reconstituted Yhm2p also transported oxaloacetate, succinate, and fumarate to a lesser extent, but virtually not malate and isocitrate. Yhm2p catalyzed only a counter-exchange transport that was saturable and inhibited by sulfhydryl-blocking reagents but not by 1,2,3-benzenetricarboxylate (a powerful inhibitor of the citrate/malate carrier). The physiological role of Yhm2p is to increase the NADPH reducing power in the cytosol (required for biosynthetic and antioxidant reactions) and probably to act as a key component of the citrate-oxoglutarate NADPH redox shuttle between mitochondria and cytosol. This protein function is based on observations documenting a decrease in the NADPH/NADP(+) and GSH/GSSG ratios in the cytosol of DeltaYHM2 cells as well as an increase in the NADPH/NADP(+) ratio in their mitochondria compared with wild-type cells. Our proposal is also supported by the growth defect displayed by the DeltaYHM2 strain and more so by the DeltaYHM2DeltaZWF1 strain upon H(2)O(2) exposure, implying that Yhm2p has an antioxidant function.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2010; 285(23):17359-70. · 4.65 Impact Factor