University of Rome Tor Vergata
Department of Experimental Medicine & Surgery
Via Montpellier 1, 00133 Rome
building E sud, II floor, room E204
tel.: +39 06 7259 6204
Her scientific activity is based on the study of structural, catalytic and physiological properties of glutathione S-transferases (GSTs). Since 2002, she is involved in the synthesis of new inhibitors of GSTs. These molecules are 7-nitro-2,1,3-benzoxadiazole derivatives that are conjugated to GSH by the GSTs leading to a σ-complex intermediate which strongly inhibits the enzymes. She has extended this study to clarify the effect and the mechanism of action of selected 7-nitro-2,1,3-benzoxadiazole derivatives, on a wide panel of tumor cell lines. These molecules are efficient cytotoxic agents at nano-micromolar concentrations. The treatment induces inside the cells the dissociation of the GSTP1-1 from the GSTP1-1-JNK1 complex resulting in the phospho-activation of JNK1 which triggers a typical process of apoptosis in tumor cells. These data suggest that activation of the mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway, through a selective GSTP1-1 targeting, might be a promising strategy for developing innovative targeted therapies. She is currently performing in vitro and vivo studies to gain additional information on the effectiveness of these compounds and on their ability to exerts synergistic effects when in combination with conventional drugs. She is the principal investigator of an AIRC project aimed at gaining further insight into the protein-protein interaction network that regulates the MAPK pathway.