Rosamaria Lappano

Università della Calabria, Rende, Calabria, Italy

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Publications (32)173.69 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Fulvenes represent a class of molecules very interesting under a chemical point of view because are easily accessible starting materials and are still poorly characterized for their biological activities, with the exception of acylfulvene and irofulvenes which have been reported to exert cytotoxic properties. Here, we describe the synthesis and characterization of several aryl-fulvenes together with their effects on cancer cell growth by MTT method. The cytotoxic potential was investigated on a panel of tumor cell lines such as breast MCF7 and SkBr3, endometrial Ishikawa, prostate LnCaP and lung A549, in comparison with the cis-diamminedichloroplatinum(II) (cisplatin) which is largely used for the treatment of different types of cancer. The evaluation of the cytotoxic activity of these compounds indicated that they are able to inhibit the proliferation of the aforementioned cancer cell types. In particular, the compound 4 exhibited the most powerful antiproliferative activity on all tumor cells evaluated with higher inhibitory effects respect to cisplatin and without altering the proliferation of human mammary MCF-10A epithelial cells.
    Anti-cancer agents in medicinal chemistry. 10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Biological responses to estrogens in normal and malignant tissues are mainly mediated by the estrogen receptors ERα and ERβ, which function as ligand-activated transcription factors. Additionally, the G protein-coupled receptor GPR30 (GPER) mediates estrogenic signaling in breast cancer cells and cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAF) that contribute to cancer progression. In the present study, we evaluated the role elicited by GPER in the estrogen-regulated expression and function of VEGF in ER-negative breast cancer cells and CAF. We demonstrated that 17β-estradiol (E2) and the GPER selective ligand G-1 triggered a GPER/EGFR/ERK/c-fos signaling pathway that leads to increased VEGF via upregulation of HIF-1α. In further extending the mechanisms involved in E2-supported angiogenesis, we also showed that conditioned medium from CAF treated with E2 and G-1 promoted human endothelial tube formation in a GPER-dependent manner. In vivo, ligand-activated GPER was sufficient to enhance tumor growth and the expression of HIF-1α, VEGF and the endothelial marker CD34 in a mouse xenograft model of breast cancer. Our findings offer important new insights into the ability of estrogenic GPER signaling to trigger HIF-1α-dependent VEGF expression that supports angiogenesis and progression in breast cancer.
    Cancer research. 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Nicotinic acid, also known as niacin, is the water soluble vitamin B3 used for decades for the treatment of dyslipidemic diseases. Its action is mainly mediated by the G protein-coupled receptor (GPR) 109A, however certain regulatory effects on lipid levels occur in a GPR109A- independent manner. The amide form of nicotinic acid, named nicotinamide, acts as a vitamin although neither activates the GPR109A nor exhibits the pharmacological properties of nicotinic acid. In the present study, we demonstrate for the first time that nicotinic acid and nicotinamide bind to and activate the GPER-mediated signalling in breast cancer cells and cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs). In particular, we show that both molecules are able to promote the up-regulation of well established GPER target genes through the EGFR/ERK transduction pathway. As a biological counterpart, nicotinic acid and nicotinamide induce proliferative and migratory effects in breast cancer cells and CAFs in a GPER-dependent fashion. Moreover, nicotinic acid prevents the up-regulation of ICAM-1 triggered by the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-α and stimulates the formation of endothelial tubes through GPER in HUVECs. Together, our findings concerning the agonist activity for GPER displayed by both nicotinic acid and nicotinamide broaden the mechanisms involved in the biological action of these molecules and further supports the potential of a ligand to induce different responses mediated in a promiscuous manner by distinct GPCRs.
    Cellular Signalling 03/2014; · 4.47 Impact Factor
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    Rosamaria Lappano, Assunta Pisano, Marcello Maggiolini
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    ABSTRACT: The G-protein-coupled estrogen receptor-1 (GPER, formerly known as GPR30) has attracted increasing interest, considering its ability to mediate estrogenic signaling in different cell types, including the hormone-sensitive tumors like breast cancer. As observed for other GPCR-mediated responses, the activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor is a fundamental integration point in the biological action triggered by GPER. A wide number of natural and synthetic compounds, including estrogens and anti-estrogens, elicit stimulatory effects in breast cancer through GPER up-regulation and activation, suggesting that GPER function is associated with breast tumor progression and tamoxifen resistance. GPER has also been proposed as a candidate biomarker in triple-negative breast cancer, opening a novel scenario for a more comprehensive assessment of breast tumor patients.
    Frontiers in Endocrinology 01/2014; 5:66.
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    ABSTRACT: The synthesis and characterization of some new titanocene-complexes, having a ethenyl-phenoxide or a benzyl group as substituents of the cyclopentadienyl rings, are reported. The synthesized compounds have been evaluated for their cytotoxic potential against two human breast cancer cell lines, that is: MCF7 and SkBr3. Most of these compounds have shown significant cytotoxic effects, compared to cisplatin, in MTT-based cell tests.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters 12/2013; · 2.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) play a pivotal role in cancer progression by contributing to invasion, metastasis and angiogenesis. Solid tumors possess a unique microenvironment characterized by local hypoxia, which induces gene expression changes and biological features leading to poor outcomes. Hypoxia inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) is the main transcription factor that mediates the cell response to hypoxia through different mechanisms, that include the regulation of genes strongly associated with cancer aggressiveness. Among the HIF-1 target genes, the G-protein estrogen receptor (GPER) exerts a stimulatory role in diverse types of cancer cells and in CAFs. We evaluated the regulation and function of the key angiogenic mediator VEGF in CAFs exposed to hypoxia. Gene expression studies, western blotting analysis and immunofluorescence experiments were performed in CAFs and breast cancer cells in presence of CoCl2 or cultured under low oxygen tension (2% O2), in order to analyze the involvement of the HIF-1alpha/GPER signaling in the biological responses to hypoxia. We also explored the role of the HIF-1alpha/GPER transduction pathway in functional assays like tube formation in HUVECs and cell migration in CAFs. We first determined that hypoxia induces the expression of HIF-1alpha and GPER in CAFs, then we ascertained that the HIF-1alpha/GPER signaling is involved in the regulation of VEGF expression in breast cancer cells and in CAFs exposed to hypoxia. We also assessed by ChIP assay that HIF-1alpha and GPER are both recruited to the VEGF promoter sequence and required for the VEGF promoter stimulation upon hypoxic condition. As a biological counterpart of these findings, conditioned medium from hypoxic CAFs promoted tube formation in HUVECs in a HIF-1alpha/GPER dependent manner. The functional cooperation between HIF-1alpha and GPER in CAFs was also evidenced in the hypoxia-induced cell migration, which involved a further target of the HIF-1alpha/GPER signaling like the connective tissue growth factor (CTGF). The present results provide novel insight into the role elicited by the HIF-1alpha/GPER transduction pathway in CAFs towards the hypoxia-dependent tumor angiogenesis. Our findings further extend the molecular mechanisms through which the tumor microenvironment may contribute to cancer progression.
    Breast cancer research: BCR 08/2013; 15(4):R64. · 5.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and growth factor receptors mediate multiple physio-pathological responses to a diverse array of extracellular stimuli. In this regard, it has been largely demonstrated that GPCRs and growth factor receptors generate a multifaceted signaling network, which triggers relevant biological effects in normal and cancer cells. For instance, some GPCRs transactivate the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), which stimulates diverse transduction pathways leading to gene expression changes, cell migration, survival and proliferation. Moreover, it has been reported that a functional interaction between growth factor receptors and steroid hormones like estrogens is involved in the growth of many types of tumors as well as in the resistance to endocrine therapy. This review highlights recent findings on the cross-talk between a member of the GPCR family, the G protein-coupled estrogen receptor 1 (GPER, formerly known as GPR30) and two main growth factor receptors like EGFR and insulin-like growth factor-I receptor (IGF-IR). The biological implications of the functional interaction between these important mediators of cell responses particularly in cancer are discussed.
    The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology 03/2013; · 3.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A series of novel titanocene-complexes has been prepared and evaluated for their growth regulatory effects in MCF7 and SkBr3 breast cancer cells. The capability of some of these compound to elicit relevant repressive effects on cancer cell growth could be taken into account towards novel pharmacological approaches in cancer therapy.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters 03/2013; · 2.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Activation of lipid metabolism is an early event in carcinogenesis and a central hallmark of many tumors. Fatty acid synthase (FASN) is a key lipogenic enzyme catalyzing the terminal steps in the de novo biogenesis of fatty acids. In cancer cells, FASN may act as a metabolic oncogene given that it confers growth and survival advantages to these cells, whereas its inhibition effectively and selectively kills tumor cells. Hormones like estrogens and growth factors contribute to the transcriptional regulation of FASN expression also through the activation of downstream signaling and a crosstalk among diverse transduction pathways. In this study, we demonstrate for the first time that 17β-estradiol (E2) and the selective GPER ligand G-1 regulate FASN expression and activity through the GPER-mediated signaling which involved the EGFR/ERK/c-fos/AP1 transduction pathway, as ascertained by using specific pharmacological inhibitors, performing gene-silencing experiments and ChiP assays in breast SkBr3, colorectal LoVo, hepatocarcinoma HepG2 cancer cells and breast cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs). In addition, the proliferative effects induced by E2 and G-1 in these cells involved FASN as the inhibitor of its activity, named cerulenin, abolished the growth response to both ligands. Our data suggest that GPER may be included among the transduction mediators involved by estrogens in regulating FASN expression and activity in cancer cells and CAFs that strongly contribute to cancer progression.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 11/2012; · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: G-Protein Coupled Receptor (GPCR) superfamily, which comprises approximately 900 members, is the largest family of protein targets with proven therapeutic value. Although at least 500 GPCRs have been identified as therapeutically relevant, only thirteen GPCRs have been structurally characterized in apo-form or in complex with ligands. GPCRs share relatively low sequence similarity making hard the process of homology modelling, nevertheless some successful hits have been determined. Recently, the G-protein-coupled estrogen receptor 1 (GPER, formerly known as GPR30) has attracted increasing interest due to its ability in mediating estrogen signaling in different normal and cancer tissues. In this regard, the identification of selective GPER ligands has provided valuable tools in order to differentiate the specific functions elicited by this novel estrogen receptor respect to those exerted by the classical estrogen receptors (ERs). In this review, we focus on GPER examining "in silico" docking simulations and evaluating the different binding modes of diverse natural and synthetic ligands.
    Current Medicinal Chemistry 10/2012; · 3.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Bisphenol A (BPA) is the principal constituent of baby bottles, reusable water bottles, metal cans, and plastic food containers. BPA exerts estrogen-like activity by interacting with the classical estrogen receptors (ERα and ERβ) and through the G protein-coupled receptor (GPR30/GPER). In this regard, recent studies have shown that GPER was involved in the proliferative effects induced by BPA in both normal and tumor cells.Objectives: We studied the transduction signaling pathways through which BPA influences cell proliferation and migration in human breast cancer cells and cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs).Methods and results: We used as a model system SKBR3 breast cancer cells and CAFs that lack the classical ERs. Specific pharmacological inhibitors and gene-silencing procedures were used to show that BPA induces the expression of the GPER target genes c-FOS, EGR-1, and CTGF through the GPER/EGFR/ERK transduction pathway in SKBR3 breast cancer cells and CAFs. Moreover, we observed that GPER is required for growth effects and migration stimulated by BPA in both cell types.Conclusions: Results indicate that GPER is involved in the biological action elicited by BPA in breast cancer cells and CAFs. Hence, GPER-mediated signaling should be included among the transduction mechanisms through which BPA may stimulate cancer progression.
    Environmental Health Perspectives 05/2012; 120(8):1177-82. · 7.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Functional cross talk between insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) system and estrogen signaling has been largely reported, although the underlying molecular mechanisms remain to be fully elucidated. As GPR30/GPER mediates rapid cell responses to estrogens, we evaluated the potential of IGF-I to regulate GPER expression and function in estrogen receptor (ER)α-positive breast (MCF-7) and endometrial (Ishikawa) cancer cells. We found that IGF-I transactivates the GPER promoter sequence and upregulates GPER mRNA and protein levels in both cells types. Similar data were found, at least in part, in carcinoma-associated fibroblasts. The upregulation of GPER expression by IGF-I involved the IGF-IR/PKCδ/ERK/c-fos/AP1 transduction pathway and required ERα, as ascertained by specific pharmacological inhibitors and gene-silencing. In both MCF-7 and Ishikawa cancer cells, the IGF-I-dependent cell migration required GPER and its main target gene CTGF, whereas the IGF-I-induced proliferation required both GPER and cyclin D1. Our data demonstrate that the IGF-I system regulates GPER expression and function, triggering the activation of a signaling network that leads to the migration and proliferation of cancer cells.Oncogene advance online publication, 19 March 2012; doi:10.1038/onc.2012.97.
    Oncogene 03/2012; · 8.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although the action of estrogens has been traditionally explained by the binding to and transactivation of the nuclear estrogen receptor (ER)α and ERβ, recently the G protein-coupled receptor GPR30/GPER has been involved in the rapid estrogen signaling. We investigated the ability of two original molecules, which were named GPER-L1 and GPERL2, to bind to and activate the GPER transduction pathway in cancer cells. Competition assays, docking simulations, transfection experiments, real-time PCR, immunoblotting, gene silencing technology and growth assays were performed to ascertain the selective action of GPER-L1 and GPER-L2 in activating the GPER-mediated signaling. Both compounds, which did not show any ability to bind to and activate the classical ERs, were able to bind to GPER and to trigger the rapid activation of the GPER/EGFR/ERK transduction pathway which led to the up-regulation of GPER-target genes. Notably, GPER-L1 and GPER-L2 induced the proliferation of SkBr3 breast and Ishikawa endometrial cancer cells at nM concentrations through GPER, hence providing further evidence on their capability to elicit relevant biological responses mediated by GPER. The identification and characterization of these novel compounds as selective GPER agonists represent a valuable tool to further dissect the pharmacology of this novel estrogen receptor and to better differentiate the specific functions elicited by each estrogen receptor subtype in cancer cells.
    Current cancer drug targets 03/2012; 12(5):531-42. · 5.13 Impact Factor
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    Rosamaria Lappano, Marcello Maggiolini
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    ABSTRACT: G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), which represent the largest gene family in the human genome, play a crucial role in multiple physiological functions as well as in tumor growth and metastasis. For instance, various molecules like hormones, lipids, peptides and neurotransmitters exert their biological effects by binding to these seven-transmembrane receptors coupled to heterotrimeric G-proteins, which are highly specialized transducers able to modulate diverse signaling pathways. Furthermore, numerous responses mediated by GPCRs are not dependent on a single biochemical route, but result from the integration of an intricate network of transduction cascades involved in many physiological activities and tumor development. This review highlights the emerging information on the various responses mediated by a selected choice of GPCRs and the molecular mechanisms by which these receptors exert a primary action in cancer progression. These findings provide a broad overview on the biological activity elicited by GPCRs in tumor cells and contribute to the identification of novel pharmacological approaches for cancer patients.
    Acta Pharmacologica Sinica 03/2012; 33(3):351-62. · 2.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The multiple biological responses to estrogens are mainly mediated by the classical estrogen receptors ERα and ERβ, which act as ligand-activated transcription factors. ERα exerts a main role in the development of breast cancer; therefore, the ER antagonist tamoxifen has been widely used although its effectiveness is limited by de novo and acquired resistance. Recently, GPR30/GPER, a member of the seven-transmembrane G protein-coupled receptor family, has been implicated in mediating the effects of estrogens in various normal and cancer cells. In particular, GPER triggered gene expression and proliferative responses induced by estrogens and even ER antagonists in hormone-sensitive tumor cells. Likewise, additional ER ligands showed the ability to bind to GPER eliciting promiscuous and, in some cases, opposite actions through the two receptors. We synthesized a novel compound (ethyl 3-[5-(2-ethoxycarbonyl-1-methylvinyloxy)-1-methyl-1H-indol-3-yl]but-2-enoate), referred to as MIBE, and investigated its properties elicited through ERα and GPER in breast cancer cells. Molecular modeling, binding experiments and functional assays were performed in order to evaluate the biological action exerted by MIBE through ERα and GPER in MCF7 and SkBr3 breast cancer cells. MIBE displayed the ability to act as an antagonist ligand for ERα and GPER as it elicited inhibitory effects on gene transcription and growth effects by binding to both receptors in breast cancer cells. Moreover, GPER was required for epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and ERK activation by EGF as ascertained by using MIBE and performing gene silencing experiments. Our findings provide novel insights on the functional cross-talk between GPER and EGFR signaling. Furthermore, the exclusive antagonistic activity exerted by MIBE on ERα and GPER could represent an innovative pharmacological approach targeting breast carcinomas which express one or both receptors at the beginning and/or during tumor progression. Hence, the simultaneous inhibition of both ERα and GPER may guarantee major therapeutic benefits in respect to the use of a selective estrogen receptor antagonist.
    Breast cancer research: BCR 01/2012; 14(1):R12. · 5.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tumor cells display progressive changes in metabolism that correlate with malignancy, including development of a lipogenic phenotype. Highly proliferating cancer cells need to synthesise fatty acids de novo to continually provide glycerophospholipids particularly for membrane production. The synthesised fatty acids are also used for energy production through β-oxidation and lipid modification of proteins. In addition, deregulated lipogenesis plays an important role in tumor cell survival and affects fundamental cellular processes, including signal transduction and gene expression. These observations suggest that enzymes involved in the pathways of lipid synthesis would be rational therapeutic targets in cancer. Over the past few decades, many substantial discoveries regarding enzymes and proteins acting in lipid synthesis have led to the current understanding of the complex signalling network implicated in the metabolic transduction pathways. This review presents an overview of mammalian glycerophospholipid synthesis, signal transduction and cellular distribution of the biochemical activities that produce distinct membrane lipid molecular species.
    Current Molecular Pharmacology 11/2011; 4(3):167-75.
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    ABSTRACT: The anticancer properties of a series of mononuclear Re(IV) compounds of formula ReCl(4)L (where L is bpy = 2,2'-bipyridine; bpym = 2,2'-bipyrimidine; dmbpy = 4,4'-dimethyl-2,2'-bipyridine; phen = 1,10-phenanthroline) were investigated for the first time. All compounds displayed potent in vitro antiproliferative activity against selected cancer cells.
    Chemical Communications 03/2011; 47(18):5283-5. · 6.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the last twenty years the efforts to design and optimize new drugs have been based on the three dimensional structure of the selected target proteins. In this regard, useful information has been achieved mainly by protein crystallography, which has recently turned from a low into a high-throughput process thanks to the improvement in robot technologies, automation procedure and the use of synchrotron radiation facilities [1-3]. This review examines the impact of Structure Based Drug Design (SBDD) on the discovery of ligands as the selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) of the Estrogen Receptor (ER)α, which is involved in the regulation of several physiological and pathological processes.
    Current Medicinal Chemistry 02/2011; 18(8):1188-94. · 3.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The hydroxylated derivatives of cholesterol, such as the oxysterols, play important roles in lipid metabolism. In particular, 25-hydroxycholesterol (25 HC) has been implicated in a variety of metabolic events including cholesterol homeostasis and atherosclerosis. 25 HC is detectable in human plasma after ingestion of a meal rich in oxysterols and following a dietary cholesterol challenge. In addition, the levels of oxysterols, including 25 HC, have been found to be elevated in hypercholesterolemic serum. Here, we demonstrate that the estrogen receptor (ER) α mediates gene expression changes and growth responses induced by 25 HC in breast and ovarian cancer cells. Moreover, 25 HC exhibits the ERα-dependent ability like 17 β-estradiol (E2) to inhibit the up-regulation of HIF-1α and connective tissue growth factor by hypoxic conditions in cardiomyocytes and rat heart preparations and to prevent the hypoxia-induced apoptosis. The estrogen action exerted by 25 HC may be considered as an additional factor involved in the progression of breast and ovarian tumors. Moreover, the estrogen-like activity of 25 HC elicited in the cardiovascular system may play a role against hypoxic environments.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(1):e16631. · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Rosamaria Lappano, Marcello Maggiolini
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    ABSTRACT: G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) belong to a superfamily of cell surface signalling proteins that have a pivotal role in many physiological functions and in multiple diseases, including the development of cancer and cancer metastasis. Current drugs that target GPCRs - many of which have excellent therapeutic benefits - are directed towards only a few GPCR members. Therefore, huge efforts are currently underway to develop new GPCR-based drugs, particularly for cancer. We review recent findings that present unexpected opportunities to interfere with major tumorigenic signals by manipulating GPCR-mediated pathways. We also discuss current data regarding novel GPCR targets that may provide promising opportunities for drug discovery in cancer prevention and treatment.
    dressNature Reviews Drug Discovery 01/2011; 10(1):47-60. · 33.08 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

831 Citations
173.69 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2007–2014
    • Università della Calabria
      • • Department of Pharmacy, Health and Nutritional Sciences
      • • Department of Pharmaco-Biology
      Rende, Calabria, Italy
  • 2013
    • Università degli Studi di Salerno
      • Department of BioMedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences FARMABIOMED
      Fisciano, Campania, Italy