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1.  Oxidative Stress and β-Thalassemic Erythroid Cells behind the Molecular Defect 
β-thalassemia is a worldwide distributed monogenic red cell disorder, characterized by the absence or reduced β-globin chain synthesis. Despite the extensive knowledge of the molecular defects causing β-thalassemia, less is known about the mechanisms responsible for the associated ineffective erythropoiesis and reduced red cell survival, which sustain anemia of β-thalassemia. The unbalance of alpha-gamma chain and the presence of pathological free iron promote a severe red cell membrane oxidative stress, which results in abnormal β-thalassemic red cell features. These cells are precociously removed by the macrophage system through two mechanisms: the removal of phosphatidylserine positive cells and through the natural occurring antibody produced against the abnormally clustered membrane protein band 3. In the present review we will discuss the changes in β-thalassemic red cell homeostasis related to the oxidative stress and its connection with production of microparticles and with malaria infection. The reactive oxygen species (ROS) are also involved in ineffective erythropoiesis of β-thalassemia through still partially known pathways. Novel cytoprotective systems such as ASHP, eIF2α, and peroxiredoxin-2 have been suggested to be important against ROS in β-thalassemic erythropoiesis. Finally, we will discuss the results of the major in vitro and in vivo studies with antioxidants in β-thalassemia.
PMCID: PMC3800594  PMID: 24205432
2.  Life and Death of Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (G6PD) Deficient Erythrocytes – Role of Redox Stress and Band 3 Modifications 
G6PD catalyzes the first, pace-making reaction of pentosephosphate cycle (PPC) which produces NADPH. NADPH maintains glutathione and thiol groups of proteins and enzymes in the reduced state which is essential for protection against oxidative stress. Individuals affected by G6PD deficiency are unable to regenerate reduced glutathione (GSH) and are undefended against oxidative stress. G6PD deficiency accelerates normal senescence and enhances the precocious removal of chronologically young, yet biologically old cells. The term hemolytic anemia is misleading because RBCs do not lyse but are removed by phagocytosis. Acute hemolysis by fava bean ingestion in G6PD deficient individuals (favism) is described being the best-studied natural model of oxidant damage. It bears strong analogies to hemolysis by oxidant drugs or chemicals. Membrane alterations observed in vivo during favism are superimposable to changes in senescent RBCs. In summary, RBC membranes isolated from favic patients contained elevated amounts of complexes between IgG and the complement fragment C3b/C3c and were prone to vesiculation. Anti-band 3 IgG reacted to aggregated band 3-complement complexes. In favism extensive clustering of band 3 and membrane deposition of hemichromes were also observed. Severely damaged RBCs isolated from early crises had extensive membrane cross-bonding and very low GSH levels and were phagocytosed 10-fold more intensely compared to normal RBCs.
PMCID: PMC3678266  PMID: 23801924
G6PD; G6PD deficiency; Band 3; Hemolysis; Favism
3.  Peroxiredoxin-2 expression is increased in β-thalassemic mouse red cells but is displaced from the membrane as a marker of oxidative stress 
Free radical biology & medicine  2010;49(3):457-466.
Peroxiredoxin 2 (Prx2), the third most abundant cytoplasmic protein in red blood cells (RBCs), is involved in the defense against oxidative stress. Although much is known about Prx2 in healthy RBCs, its role in pathological RBCs remains largely unexplored. Here, we show that the expression and net content of Prx2 are markedly increased in RBCs from two mouse models of β-thalassemia (β-thal; Hbbth/th and Hbbth3/+ strains). We also demonstrate that the increased expression of Prx2 correlates with the severity of the disease and that the amount of Prx2 bound to the membrane is markedly reduced in β-thal mouse RBCs. To explore the impact of oxidative stress on Prx2 membrane association, we examined Prx2 dimerization and membrane translocation in murine RBCs exposed to various oxidants (phenylhydrazine, PHZ; diamide; H2O2). PHZ-treated RBCs, which mimic the membrane damage in β-thal RBCs, exhibited a kinetic correlation among Prx2 membrane displacement, intracellular methemoglobin levels, and hemichrome membrane association, suggesting the possible masking of Prx2 docking sites by membrane-bound hemichromes, providing a possible mechanism for the accumulation of oxidized/dimerized Prx2 in the cytoplasm and the increased membrane damage in β-thal RBCs. Thus, reduced access of Prx2 to the membrane in β-thal RBCs represents a new factor that could contribute to the oxidative damage characterizing the pathology.
PMCID: PMC3395234  PMID: 20488244
Oxidative damage; Diamide; Phenylhydrazine; Thalassemias; Erythrocytes; Hydrogen peroxide; Free radicals
4.  Identification of Phosphoproteins as Possible Differentiation Markers in All-Trans-Retinoic Acid-Treated Neuroblastoma Cells 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e18254.
Neuroblastic tumors account for 9–10% of pediatric tumors and neuroblastoma (NB) is the first cause of death in pre-school age children. NB is classified in four stages, depending on the extent of spreading. A fifth type of NB, so-called stage 4S (S for special), includes patients with metastatic tumors but with an overall survival that approximates 75% at five years. In most of these cases, the tumor regresses spontaneously and regression is probably associated with delayed neuroblast cell differentiation.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In order to identify new early markers to follow and predict this process for diagnostic and therapeutics intents, we mimicked the differentiation process treating NB cell line SJ-NK-P with all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) at different times; therefore the cell proteomic pattern by mass spectrometry and the phosphoproteomic pattern by a 2-DE approach coupled with anti-phosphoserine and anti-phosphotyrosine western blotting were studied.
Proteomic analysis identified only two proteins whose expression was significantly different in treated cells versus control cells: nucleoside diphosphate kinase A (NDKA) and reticulocalbin-1 (RCN1), which were both downregulated after 9 days of ATRA treatment. However, phosphoproteomic analysis identified 8 proteins that were differentially serine-phosphorylated and 3 that were differentially tyrosine-phosphorylated after ATRA treatment. All proteins were significantly regulated (at least 0.5-fold down-regulated). Our results suggest that differentially phosphorylated proteins could be considered as more promising markers of differentiation for NB than differentially expressed proteins.
PMCID: PMC3088664  PMID: 21573212
Proteomics  2008;8(22):4695-4708.
Protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) are crucial components of cellular signal transduction pathways. We report here that red blood cells (RBCs) from mice lacking PTPε (Ptpre−/−) exhibit abnormal morphology and increased Ca2+-activated-K+ channel activity, which was partially blocked by the Src-Family-Kinases (SFKs) inhibitor PP1. In Ptpre−/− mouse RBCs, the activity of Fyn and Yes, two SFKs, were increased, suggesting a functional relationship between SFKs, PTPε and Ca2+-activated-K+-channel. The absence of PTPε markedly affected the RBC membrane tyrosine (Tyr-) phosphoproteome, indicating a perturbation of RBCs signal transduction pathways. Using signaling network computational analysis of the Tyr-phosphoproteomic data, we identified 7 topological clusters. We studied cluster 1, containing Syk-Tyr-kinase: Syk-kinase activity was higher in wild-type than in Ptpre−/− RBCs, validating the network computational analysis and indicating a novel signaling pathway, which involves Fyn and Syk in regulation of red cell morphology.
PMCID: PMC3008556  PMID: 18924107
Tyrosine-phosphorylation; Fyn; Syk; Gardos channel
6.  A proteomic approach to differentiate histologically classified stable and unstable plaques from human carotid arteries 
Atherosclerosis  2008;203(1):112-118.
By using proteomics we isolated and identified proteins that were expressed/retained in stable and unstable human carotid artery atherosclerotic plaques.
The criteria for plaque instability were the presence of a thin fibrous cap or fissured cap covering the foamy or necrotic core, and the presence of overt, hemorrhagic, ulcerated or thrombotic plaques. Proteins were extracted from finely minced endarterectomy specimens (19 stable, 29 unstable plaques) and separated by 2-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Coomassie Blue-stained gels were analysed using PD-Quest software.
A total of 57 distinct spots corresponding to 33 different proteins were identified by matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry using the NCBI database. Most of the spots were present in both types of extracts, although significantly (p<0.05) differing in abundance between them. Compared to stable plaque, unstable ones showed reduced abundance of: protective enzymes SOD3 and GST, small heat shock proteins HSP27 and HSP20, annexin A10, and Rho GDI. In unstable plaques the more abundant proteins were: ferritin light subunit, SOD 2 and fibrinogen fragment D. For fibrinogen fragment D, the increased levels in unstable versus stable plaques was confirmed by Western blot analysis.
Since many of the differentially expressed proteins are known to have a functional role in inflammation and oxidative stress, we speculate that they may be involved in events relating to plaque stability.
PMCID: PMC2659534  PMID: 18715566
7.  Mapping Antigenic Sites of an Immunodominant Surface Lipoprotein of Mycoplasma agalactiae, AvgC, with the Use of Synthetic Peptides  
Infection and Immunity  2002;70(1):171-176.
As a first step toward the design of an epitope vaccine to prevent contagious agalactia, the strongly immunogenic 55-kDa protein of Mycoplasma agalactiae was studied and found to correspond to the AvgC protein encoded by the avgC gene. The avg genes of M. agalactiae, which encode four variable surface lipoproteins, display a significant homology to the vsp (variable membrane surface lipoproteins) genes of the bovine pathogen Mycoplasma bovis at their promoter region as well as their N-terminus-encoding regions. Some members of the Vsp family are known to be involved in cytoadhesion to host cells. In order to localize immunogenic peptides in the AvgC antigen, the protein sequence was submitted to epitope prediction analysis, and five sets of overlapping peptides, corresponding to five selected regions, were synthesized by Spot synthesis. Reactive peptides were selected by immunobinding assay with sera from infected sheep. The three most immunogenic epitopes were shown to be surface exposed by immunoprecipitation assays, and one of these was specifically recognized by all tested sera. Our study indicates that selected epitopes of the AvgC lipoprotein may be used to develop a peptide-based vaccine which is effective against M. agalactiae infection.
PMCID: PMC127643  PMID: 11748179

Results 1-7 (7)