The prion protein (PrP) is currently one of the most studied molecules in the neurosciences. It is the main cause of a group of neurological diseases collectively called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies that severely affect both humans and a variety of mammals. Much effort has been directed to understanding the molecular basis of PrP activity, both… (More)
BACKGROUND Maturity onset diabetes of the young type 2 (or GCK MODY) is a genetic form of diabetes mellitus provoked by mutations in the glucokinase gene (GCK). METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS We screened the GCK gene by direct sequencing in 30 patients from South Italy with suspected MODY. The mutation-induced structural alterations in the protein were… (More)
Type 2 Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY2) is a monogenic autosomal disease characterized by a primary defect in insulin secretion and hyperglycemia. It results from GCK gene mutations that impair enzyme activity. Between 2006 and 2010, we investigated GCK mutations in 66 diabetic children from southern Italy with suspected MODY2. Denaturing High… (More)
Prion protein (PrP) is involved in lethal neurodegenerative diseases, and many issues remain unclear about its physio-pathological role. Quadruplex-forming nucleic acids (NAs) have been found to specifically bind to both PrP cellular and pathological isoforms. To clarify the relevance of these interactions, thermodynamic, kinetic and structural studies have… (More)
The physicochemical aspects of protein crystallization in reduced-gravity environments ( micro g) have been investigated with the Advanced Protein Crystallization Facility during six space missions. This review summarizes the results, dealing with the mechanisms of nucleation and crystal growth and with the quality of the crystals that were obtained under… (More)
Aldolase C is a brain-specific glycolytic isozyme whose complete repertoire of functions are obscure. This lack of knowledge can be addressed using molecular tools that discriminate the protein from the homologous, ubiquitous paralog aldolase A. The anti-aldolase C antibodies currently available are polyclonal and not highly specific. We obtained the novel… (More)
Phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH) catalyzes the conversion of L-Phe to L-Tyr. Defects in PAH activity, caused by mutations in the human gene, result in the autosomal recessively inherited disease hyperphenylalaninemia. PAH activity is regulated by multiple factors, including phosphorylation and ligand binding. In particular, PAH displays positive… (More)
A second derivative ultraviolet spectrophotometric method for direct identification of aminosuccinyl peptides is described. The advantages and limits of this procedure have been assessed on the basis of results of five model peptides including the aminosuccinyl moiety.