Giordano's Group

Department of human pathology and oncology, university of Siena
Group Leader
Prof. Antonio Giordano
Paola Indovina, Molecular Biologist, Post-doc
Alessandra Rossi, Molecular Biologist, Post-doc
Eliseo Mattioli, M.D. Pathologist, PhD Student
Baharak Khadang, M.D., PhD student
Valentina Tomei, Biotechnologist, PhD student
Daniele Conti, Biotechnologist, PhD student
Francesca Giorgi, Biotechnologist, PhD student
Martina Cozzi, Biotechnologist, PhD student
Nadia Casini, Biotechnologist
Valeria Rizzo, Molecular Biologist
Eleonora Marcelli, undergraduate student
Scientific interests
Senescence of stem cells
We are studying the in vitro senescence of rat and human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). In detail, we are interested in analyzing genes involved in DNA repair, whose expression is downregulated with aging. Senescence was accompanied by downregulation of several genes involved in stem cell self-renewal. We study also the characteristic changes in the expression patters of Retinoblastoma gene family expression that occur during senescence.
Epigenetic regulation of stem cell biology
Chromatin state is fundamental for gene expression. Self-renewal, proliferation and differentiation properties of stem cells are controlled by key transcription factors. However, their activity is modulated by chromatin remodeling factors that operate at the highest hierarchical level. Studies on these factors can be especially important to dissect molecular pathways governing the biology of stem cells.
-           SWI/SNF complexes are ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling enzymes that have been shown to be required for cell cycle control, apoptosis and cell differentiation in several biological systems. The aim of our research was to investigate the role of these complexes in the biology of MSCs.
-           DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification that occurs almost exclusively in the context of CpG dinucleotides. MECP2 is a member of a family of proteins that preferentially bind to methylated CpGs. We are analyzing the specific contribution of MECP2 in physiology of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).
-           Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) have received great attention for their anti-tumoral properties. This anti-cancer action can be obtained by reversion of silenced genes, induction of cell cycle arrest, differentiation and/or apoptosis. HDACi-based therapy can have side effects that impair functions of bone marrow microenvironment, including MSCs. We are studying the biological effects of HDACi on MSCs.
Molecular oncology
relevant publications
1: Squillaro T, Alessio N, Cipollaro M, Renieri A, Giordano A, Galderisi U. Partial silencing of methyl cytosine protein binding 2 (MECP2) in mesenchymal stem cells induces senescence with an increase in damaged DNA. FASEB J. 2010 May;24(5):1593-603.
2: Forte A, Finicelli M, Mattia M, Berrino L, Rossi F, De Feo M, Cotrufo M, Cipollaro M, Cascino A, Galderisi U. Mesenchymal stem cells effectively reduce surgically induced stenosis in rat carotids. J Cell Physiol. 2008 Dec;217(3):789-99.
3: Napolitano MA, Cipollaro M, Cascino A, Melone MA, Giordano A, Galderisi U. Brg1 chromatin remodeling factor is involved in cell growth arrest, apoptosis and senescence of rat mesenchymal stem cells. J Cell Sci. 2007 Aug 15;120(Pt 16):2904-11.
4: Jori FP, Melone MA, Napolitano MA, Cipollaro M, Cascino A, Giordano A, Galderisi U. RB and RB2/p130 genes demonstrate both specific and overlapping functions during the early steps of in vitro neural differentiation of marrow stromal stem cells. Cell Death Differ. 2005 Jan;12(1):65-77.
Scientific instruments
-          A cell-culture room with sterile hoods, cell incubators, centrifuges, microscopes and thermostatic baths
-          A real-time PCR system and classic PCR machines
-          UV/Visible spectrophotometer
-          Chemi-Doc molecular imaging system
-          A bacterial-culture room with a hood and a shaker incubator
-          Equipment for nucleic acid and protein electrophoresis
-          Inverted fluorescence microscope

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