Cellular Neurobiology. Coordinator: Monti

Understanding the biochemical and molecular mechanisms in the cross-talk between glial cells (microglia, astrocytes or oligodendrocytes) and neurons in physiological conditions, as well as their alterations in neurodegenerative diseases to identify potential therapeutic targets.

Research themes

1. Microglia and astrocytes role in neuronal protection in physiopathological conditions: identification of proteic factors and miRNAs secreted by the glial cells both as soluble molecules and through exosomes in Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in collaboration with Dr. Zuccheri (FaBiT, Italy), granted by ALSA;

2. Neurons-oligodendrocytes interactions in ACG-1 deficiency: study of mutual signaling mechanisms between these cells under physiological conditions and their pathological alterations in the rare genetic, neurodegenerative and demyelinating disease, AGC-1 deficiency, by using both in vitro (cell lines, neurospheres and brain cell cultures derived from human iPS) and in vivo models in collaboration with Dr. Lasorsa (CNR, Bari, Italy), granted by Telethon.

3. Screening and characterization of the effect of small synthetic molecules on neuronal survival/death, neuron-glia regeneration and glial immunomodulation, in collaboration with Prof. Bolognesi (FaBiT, Italy).

Lab members

Prof. Barbara Monti, b.monti@unibo.it, PI

Dr. Francesca Massenzio, francesca.massenzio2@unibo.it, RTDa

Dr. Eleonora Poeta, eleonora.poeta3@unibo.it, Research Fellow

Dr. Francesca De Chirico, francesca.dechirico3@unibo.it, PhD student

Dr. Giorgia Babini, giorgia.babini2@unibo.it, PhD student

Monia Bentivogli, monia.bentivogli@unibo.it, technician

Internship projects

2 internship projects available every academic year for students of the master degree courses in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Biology of Health; 2 more projects every academic year for undergraduate students in Biotechnology.

Main publications

Petralla S, Peña-Altamira LE, Poeta E, Massenzio F, Virgili M, Barile SN, Sbano L, Profilo E, Corricelli M, Danese A, Giorgi C, Ostan R, Capri M, Pinton P, Palmieri F, Lasorsa FM, Monti B. Deficiency of Mitochondrial Aspartate-Glutamate Carrier 1 Leads to Oligodendrocyte Precursor Cell Proliferation Defects Both In Vitro and In Vivo. Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Sep 11;20(18). pii: E4486. doi: 10.3390/ijms20184486.

Massenzio F, Peña-Altamira E, Petralla S, Virgili M, Zuccheri G, Miti A, Polazzi E, Mengoni I, Piffaretti D, Monti B. Microglial overexpression of fALS-linked mutant SOD1 induces SOD1 processing impairment, activation and neurotoxicity and is counteracted by the autophagy inducer trehalose. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2018 Dec;1864(12):3771-3785. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2018.10.013. Epub 2018 Oct 10.

Uliassi E, Peña-Altamira LE, Morales AV, Massenzio F, Petralla S, Rossi M, Roberti M, Martinez Gonzalez L, Martinez A, Monti B, Bolognesi ML. A Focused Library of Psychotropic Analogues with Neuroprotective and Neuroregenerative Potential. ACS Chem Neurosci. 2019 Jan 16;10(1):279-294. doi: 10.1021/acschemneuro.8b00242.

Profilo E, Peña-Altamira LE, Corricelli M, Castegna A, Danese A, Agrimi G, Petralla S, Giannuzzi G, Porcelli V, Sbano L, Viscomi C, Massenzio F, Palmieri EM, Giorgi C, Fiermonte G, Virgili M, Palmieri L, Zeviani M, Pinton P, Monti B, Palmieri F, Lasorsa FM. Down-regulation of the mitochondrial aspartate-glutamate carrier isoform 1 AGC1 inhibits proliferation and N-acetylaspartate synthesis in Neuro2A cells. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2017 Jun;1863(6):1422-1435. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2017.02.022. Epub 2017 Feb 21.

Peña-Altamira E, Petralla S, Massenzio F, Virgili M, Bolognesi ML, Monti B. Nutritional and Pharmacological Strategies to Regulate Microglial Polarization in Cognitive Aging and Alzheimer's Disease. Front Aging Neurosci. 2017 Jun 7;9:175. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2017.00175