Cancer metabolism. Coordinator: Fato

Study of metabolic alterations in cancerogenesis with reference to the ability of cancer cells to switch from aerobic to anaerobic metabolism depending on different metabolites availability.

Research themes

Cancer cells frequently display fundamentally altered cellular metabolism, which provides the biochemical basis of tumorigenicity and malignancy. Metabolic deregulations in cancer cells are crucial for cancer cell proliferation.

  1. Redox signaling in cancer (DF CP LZ): role of Reactive Oxygen Species generated from NAD(P)H oxidases (Nox family) and role of aquaporins to maintain the glucose uptake and thus regulate the proliferation in human leukemia cells.
  2. Lipid metabolism in cancer (NC GS): role of the endogenous products of lipid peroxidation in the control of proliferation, differentiation and death in normal and tumour cells.
  3. Bioenergetics in cancer (RF CB): role of the oxidative phosphorylation on cancer cells proliferation. The main goal is to characterize the metabolic differences between the tumour and non-tumour cells in order to find specific targets for chemotherapy drugs.

Other research themes are followed by members of the research group: Steroid hormones receptors; Shell formation in Abalone (NC GS). Determination of the biological effects of a series of newly synthesized quinone derivatives displaying Antitrypanosomal activity; Studies of the redox state of mitochondrial Complex I redox centers to characterize the site of oxygen radicals production and the electron transfer pathway from NADH to Coenzyme Q (RF CB).

Lab members

Staff: Romana Fato, Christian Bergamini, Natalia Calonghi, Diana Fiorentini, Cecilia Prata, Giorgio Sartor e Laura Zambonin.

PhD students: Giulia Frisco e Wenping Wang

Internship projects

Romana Fato is members of the teaching staff of the PhD program Biotechnological, Biocomputational, Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences and they can be tutors for PhD students. Every year there are six internship projects available for students of single cycle degree (CTF and Pharmacy) and six internship projects for students of first cycle degree (Biological Sciences, Biotechnology, Chemistry and materials chemistry) on the group’s research themes.

Main publications

Bergamini C, Moruzzi N, Sblendido A, Lenaz G, Fato R. A water soluble CoQ10 formulation improves intracellular distribution and promotes mitochondrial respiration in cultured cells. PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e33712. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033712. Epub 2012 Mar 14. PMID: 22432044.

De Nisi A, Bergamini C, Leonzio M, Sartor G, Fato R, Naldi M, Monari M, Calonghi N, Bandini M. Synthesis, cytotoxicity and anti-cancer activity of new alkynyl-gold(I) complexes. Dalton Transactions 45, 1546-1553, 2016 doi: 10.1039/c5dt02905h. Epub 2015 Dec 21

Parolin C, Calonghi N, Presta E, Boga C, Caruana P, Naldic M, Andrisano V, Masotti L, Sartor G. Mechanism and stereoselectivity of HDAC I inhibition by (R)-9-hydroxystearic acid in colon cancer. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids 1821, 1334–1340, 2012.

Vieceli Dalla Sega F, Zambonin L, Fiorentini D, Rizzo B, Caliceti C, Landi L, Hrelia S, Prata C. Specific aquaporins facilitate Nox-produced hydrogen peroxide transport through plasma membrane in leukaemia cells. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta. 1843, 806-14, 2014. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2014.01.011.

Vieceli Dalla Sega F, Prata C., Zambonin L., Angeloni C, Rizzo B, Hrelia S, Fiorentini D. Intracellular cysteine oxidation is modulated by aquaporin-8-mediated hydrogen peroxide channelling in leukaemia cells. BioFactors, 43(2):232-242, 2017. doi: 10.1002/biof.1340.