Annamaria Fra

Annamaria Fra
Università degli Studi di Brescia | UNIBS · Department of Molecular and Translational Medicine

Professor

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50
Publications
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3,192
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Publications

Publications (50)
Article
Full-text available
Neuroserpin is a serine protease inhibitor identified in a search for proteins implicated in neuronal axon growth and synapse formation. Since its discovery over 30 years ago, it has been the focus of active research. Many efforts have concentrated in elucidating its neuroprotective role in brain ischemic lesions, the structural bases of neuroserpi...
Article
Full-text available
Alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency causes pulmonary disease due to decreased levels of circulating AAT and consequently unbalanced protease activity in the lungs. Deposition of specific AAT variants, such as the common Z AAT, within hepatocytes may also result in liver disease. These deposits are comprised of ordered polymers of AAT formed by an...
Article
Full-text available
The formation of ordered Z (Glu342Lys) α1‐antitrypsin polymers in hepatocytes is central to liver disease in α1‐antitrypsin deficiency. In vitro experiments have identified an intermediate conformational state (M*) that precedes polymer formation but this has yet to be identified in vivo. Moreover, the mechanism of polymer formation and their fate...
Article
Full-text available
The α-1-antitrypsin (or alpha-1-antitrypsin, A1AT) Z variant is the primary cause of severe A1AT deficiency and forms polymeric chains that aggregate in the endoplasmic reticulum of hepatocytes. Around 2%-5% of Europeans are heterozygous for the Z and WT M allele, and there is evidence of increased risk of liver disease when compared with MM A1AT i...
Article
Full-text available
Lung disease in alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) results from dysregulated proteolytic activity, mainly by neutrophil elastase (HNE), in the lung parenchyma. This is the result of a substantial reduction of circulating alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT) and the presence in the plasma of inactive polymers of AAT. Moreover, some AAT mutants have reduced...
Preprint
Full-text available
Lung disease in alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) results from dysregulated proteolytic activity, mainly by neutrophil elastase (HNE), in the lung parenchyma. This is the result of a substantial reduction of circulating alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT) and the presence in the plasma of inactive polymers of AAT. Moreover, some AAT mutants have reduced...
Chapter
Our current knowledge about the cellular mechanisms underlying serpin-related disorders, the serpinopathies, is predominantly based on studies in cell culture models of disease, particularly for alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT, SERPINA1) deficiency causing emphysema and the familial encephalopathy with neuroserpin (NS, SERPINI1) inclusion bodies (FENIB)....
Article
The growth of publicly available data informing upon genetic variations, mechanisms of disease and disease sub‐phenotypes offers great potential for personalised medicine. Computational approaches are likely required to assess large numbers of novel genetic variants. However, the integration of genetic, structural and pathophysiological data still...
Article
The most common genotype associated with severe a-1-antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) is the Z homozygote. The Z variant (Glu342Lys) of a-1-antitrypsin (AAT) undergoes a conformational change and is retained within the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of hepatocytes leading to the formation of ordered polymeric chains and inclusion bodies. Accumulation of mu...
Article
Full-text available
C1-inhibitor is a serine protease inhibitor (serpin) controlling complement and contact system activation. Gene mutations result in reduced C1-inhibitor functional plasma level causing hereditary angioedema, a life-threatening disorder. Despite a stable defect, the clinical expression of hereditary angioedema is unpredictable, and the molecular mec...
Article
Full-text available
C1-inhibitor is a serine protease inhibitor (serpin) controlling complement and contact system activation. Gene mutations result in reduced C1-inhibitor functional plasma level causing hereditary angioedema, a life-threatening disorder. Despite a stable defect, the clinical expression of hereditary angioedema is unpredictable, and the molecular mec...
Article
Full-text available
Thiol groups can undergo numerous modifications, making cysteine a unique molecular switch. Cysteine plays structural and regulatory roles as part of proteins or glutathione, contributing to maintain redox homeostasis and regulate signaling within and amongst cells. Not surprisingly therefore, cysteines are associated with many hereditary and acqui...
Article
Full-text available
Severe alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) is most frequently associated with the alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT) Z variant (E342K). ZZ homozygotes exhibit accumulation of AAT as polymers in the endoplasmic reticulum of hepatocytes. This protein deposition can lead to liver disease, with the resulting low circulating levels of AAT predisposing to early...
Article
Full-text available
Extract The α1-antitrypsin (α1-AT) is a 52 kDa glycoprotein that is predominantly synthesised in the liver and secreted into the circulation, where it protects the lungs from the enzyme neutrophil elastase. α1-AT deficiency (α1-ATD) is caused by mutations in the α1-AT gene, with most cases resulting from homozygous inheritance of the Z allele (Glu3...
Article
Full-text available
Mutations in alpha1-antitrypsin (AAT) can cause the protein to polymerise and be retained in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of hepatocytes. The ensuing systemic AAT deficiency leads to pulmonary emphysema, while intracellular polymers are toxic and cause chronic liver disease. The severity of this process varies considerably between individuals, su...
Article
Full-text available
Background Alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) is the most abundant circulating antiprotease and is a member of the serine protease inhibitor (SERPIN) superfamily. The gene encoding AAT is the highly polymorphic SERPINA1 gene, found at 14q32.1. Mutations in the SERPINA1 gene can lead to AAT deficiency (AATD) which is associated with a substantially increased...
Article
Full-text available
Angiogenesis plays a crucial role in tumor growth and progression. Low expression of mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) in several malignant tumors correlates with disease recurrence and overall survival. Previous studies have shown that MR expression is decreased in colorectal cancer (CRC). Here we hypothesize that decreased MR expression can contrib...
Article
Full-text available
Alpha1-antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency is a hereditary disorder associated with reduced AAT plasma levels, predisposing adults to pulmonary emphysema. The most common genetic AAT variants found in patients are the mildly deficient S and the severely deficient Z alleles, but several other pathogenic rare alleles have been reported. While the plasma AAT...
Article
Full-text available
CD40/CD40 ligand (CD40L) cross-talk plays a key role in B-cell terminal maturation in the germinal centers. Genetic defects affecting CD40 cause a rare form of hyper-immunoglobulin M (IgM) syndrome, a disorder characterized by low or absent serum IgG and IgA, associated with recurrent infections. We previously reported on a few patients with homozy...
Article
Upon antigen stimulation, B lymphocytes differentiate into antibody secreting cells (ASC), most of which undergo apoptosis after a few days of intense Ig production. Differentiation entails expansion of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and requires XBP1 but not other elements of the unfolded protein response, like PERK. Moreover, normal and malignant...
Article
Full-text available
Alpha1-antitrypsin (alpha(1)AT) deficiency is a hereditary disorder associated with reduced alpha(1)AT serum level, predisposing adults to pulmonary emphysema. Among the known mutations of the alpha(1)AT gene (SERPINA1) causing alpha(1)AT deficiency, a few alleles, particularly the Z allele, may also predispose adults to liver disease. We have char...
Article
Caveolin-3 (Cav-3) is the main scaffolding protein present in myofiber caveolae. We transfected C2C12 myoblasts with dominant negative forms of Cav-3, P104L or DeltaTFT, respectively, which cause the limb-girdle muscular dystrophy 1-C. Both these forms triggered Cav-3 loss during C2C12 cell differentiation. The P104L mutation reduced myofiber forma...
Article
Lymphatic vessels, by channeling fluid and leukocytes from the periphery into lymph nodes, play a central role in the development of the immune response. Despite their importance in homeostasis and disease, the difficulties in enriching and culturing lymphatic endothelial cells limit studies of their biology. Here, we report the isolation, stabiliz...
Article
Numerous animal studies simulating liver injury have demonstrated that interleukin-6 (IL-6) exerts a protective effect. This study was designed to further analyze the molecular mechanisms underlying the protective role of IL-6 in a rat model of liver ischemia/reperfusion injury. We show that IL-6: (i) at high doses reduces cell damage which occurs...
Article
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After few days of intense immunoglobulin (Ig) secretion, most plasma cells undergo apoptosis, thus ending the humoral immune response. We asked whether intrinsic factors link plasma cell lifespan to Ig secretion. Here we show that in the late phases of plasmacytic differentiation, when antibody production becomes maximal, proteasomal activity decre...
Article
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The promiscuous D6 receptor binds several inflammatory CC chemokines and has been recently proposed to act as a chemokine-scavenging decoy receptor. The present study was designed to better characterize the spectrum of CC chemokines scavenged by D6, focusing in particular on CCR4 ligands and analyzing the influence of NH(2)-terminal processing on r...
Article
Full-text available
In an effort to define the actual function of the promiscuous putatively silent chemokine receptor D6, transfectants were generated in different cell types. Engagement of D6 by inflammatory CC chemokines elicited no calcium response nor chemotaxis, but resulted in efficient agonist internalization and degradation. Also in lymphatic endothelium, whe...
Article
Many aberrant or unassembled proteins synthesized in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) are degraded by cytosolic proteasomes. To investigate how soluble glycoproteins destined for degradation are retrotranslocated across the ER membrane, we analyzed the fate of two IgM subunits, mu and J, retained in the ER by myeloma cells that do not synthesize ligh...
Article
Caveolin-1 and caveolin-2 are related proteins involved in the biogenesis of caveolae. The corresponding genes in humans (CAV and CAV2, respectively), have been mapped to a common locus in chromosome 7q31.1, and are possible candidates for the tumor suppressor gene postulated in this region. Here, we show that CAV and CAV2 are independent transcrip...
Article
Full-text available
We have studied the biosynthesis and transport of the endogenous caveolins in MDCK cells. We show that in addition to homooligomers of caveolin-1, heterooligomeric complexes of caveolin-1 and -2 are formed in the ER. The oligomers become larger, increasingly detergent insoluble, and phosphorylated on caveolin-2 during transport to the cell surface....
Article
Full-text available
The cysteine present in the Ig micro chain tailpiece (microtp) prevents the secretion of unpolymerized IgM intermediates and causes their accumulation in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). In principle, this can be the consequence of actual retention in this organelle or of retrieval from the Golgi. To determine which of the two mechanisms underlies t...
Article
Previous studies have shown that sphingolipids may be enriched in caveolae, plasmalemmal invaginations implicated in endocytosis and signal transduction. We synthesised a radiolabeled derivative of ganglioside GM1 bearing a photo-reactive cross-linker at the end of its acyl chain. After insertion in the plasma membrane of cultured A431 or MDCK cell...
Article
Full-text available
Caveolae are plasma membrane invaginations, which have been implicated in endothelial transcytosis, endocytosis, potocytosis, and signal transduction. In addition to their well-defined morphology, caveolae are characterized by the presence of an integral membrane protein termed VIP21-caveolin. We have recently observed that lymphocytes have no dete...
Article
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Antibody binding to glycolipids and glycophosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteins of lymphocytes can trigger activation of specific signal transduction pathways. The finding that GPI-anchored proteins are present in detergent-insoluble complexes with several tyrosine kinases of the Src family suggested that these complexes may represent membran...
Article
Previous studies on IgM secretion demonstrated a role for the mu chain C-terminal cysteine (Cys575) in preventing the transport of unpolymerized subunits along the secretory pathway. The sequence homology between the C-terminal tailpieces of mu and alpha heavy chains prompted us to investigate the role of cysteine-mediated, retention in the control...
Article
Full-text available
Plasma cells secrete IgM only in the polymeric form: the C-terminal cysteine of the mu heavy chain (Cys575) is responsible for both intracellular retention and assembly of IgM subunits. Polymerization is not quantitative, and part of IgM is degraded intracellularly. Neither chloroquine nor brefeldin A (BFA) inhibits degradation, suggesting that thi...
Article
Proteins that are not secreted or otherwise released by cells must be eventually degraded. Cytosolic degradation cannot cope with proteins that have been delivered unidirectionally to membrane-bound compartments. Hence, proteolytic systems are likely to be present in all compartments where proteins tend to accumulate (e.g., mitochondria, peroxisome...
Article
Cells have means to ensure that only properly folded and assembled molecules are transported to their final destination, a phenomenon referred to as "quality control" of protein synthesis. Thus, plasma cells secrete only the polymeric form of IgM, retaining and degrading intracellularly assembly intermediates. Due to the failure to polymerize secre...
Article
B lymphocytes do not secrete IgM, and plasma cells only secrete IgM polymers. Here we show that both events are attributable to the tailpiece found at the carboxyl terminus of mus chains, and we specifically implicate Cys-575. Thus, if Cys-575 was mutated, IgM was secreted by B cells. Similarly, a mutant IgG containing a mus tailpiece became largel...

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