EXPERIMENTAL BIOCHEMISTRY & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY (LEBMB)
Director: Dr. Giovanni Lombardi
miRNA expression and functions
Micro RNA are 18-22 nucleotide-long RNA molecules, transcribed from specific miRNA genes, acting as direct regulators of protein expression. They act by binding target mRNAs and inducing their silencing/degradation through the activation of a degradation protein complex. miRNAs are passively released as free molecules by viable and dying (necrotic/apoptotic) cells but also actively secreted associated with microvesicles or exosomes. We are studying the behaviors and the functions of this separated set of miRNA based on the assumption that while microvesicle/exosome-associated miRNAs solve a signaling (paracrine/endocrine) function and are specifically addressed towards a determined cell type or tissue, free-circulating miRNA are, instead, the expression of the metabolic status of a specific cell in a specific moment and, hence, can be considered as “classical” biomarkers.
Muscle- and bone-derived circulating miRNAs are the main subjects of our studies sharing the physical activity as the main stimulus for their expression.
Our studies are addressed at investigating those molecular markers acting as fine-tuning actors in the pathophysiological definition of metabolic diseases of the musculoskeletal apparatus and, above all, osteoporosis, sarcopenia and osteosarcopenia.
Several collaborations are active under this topic as the internal cooperation with the Endocrinology and Radiology departments as well as the LABS of the IRCCS Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi, the Università degli Studi de L’Aquila (Prof. Anna Maria Teti).