Claudia Ghigna
Claudia Ghigna
affiliation: Istituto di Genetica Molecolare-CNR, Pavia
research area(s): Cancer Biology, Molecular Biology
Course: Genetics, Molecular and Cellular Biology
University/Istitution: Università di Pavia
2004-2005 Visiting Scientist, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Massachusetts, Worcester, MA, USA
2001-present Researcher, Institute of Molecular Genetic - Italian National Research Council (IGM-CNR), Pavia
2000 Advanced School of Integrated Studies (SAFI), Institute of Superior Studies, University of Pavia
2000 PhD Genetics and Molecular Biology, University of Pavia
1997 Qualified Professional Biologist, University of Pavia
1995 Degree in Biological Sciences cum laude, University of Pavia

- "RNA Therapeutics Workshop", Harvard Medical School -Portugal Program and European Network of Excellence on Alternative Splicing, 2010 Lisbona, Portogallo
- "RNA Structure and Function", Intrnational Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology - 1996 Trieste, Italia

2005 Short-Term Mobility Grant, CNR
2004 Short-Term Mobility Grant, CNR
1997 CNR Award
1996 Buzzati-Traverso Fellowship

Leadership in projects
2011-2014: AICR (Association for International Cancer Research) Project: "Alternative splicing as a tool to develop anti-angiogenic approaches to control cancer growth"

Invited Speaker
- PhD Course, Pre-mRNA maturation from molecular biology to pathology, Graduate School of Genetics and Biomolecular Sciences, University of Pavia Mar 2010
- EURASNET (European Alternative Splicing Network of Excellence) Meeting, Mar 2010 Lisboa, Portugal
- FISV (Italian Life Sciences Federation) International Congress. Sept 2009 Riva del Garda, Italy
- International EURASNET Conference on Alternative Splicing. May 2008 Kraków, Poland
- Alternative Splicing and Disease Workshop. Feb 2008 University of Montpellier II, France
- Symposium on Alternate Transcript Diversity, EMBL, Mar 2006 Heidelberg, Germany
- Meeting of the RNA Society, July 2003 Vienna, Austria
- RNA day, Jan 2003 University La Sapienza, Roma, Italy

Ad hoc reviewer
Reviewer for the following scientific journals: International Journal of Cancer, Molecular Cancer
Evaluator of scientific projects for "AIDS Grant Programme of the Italian Ministry of Health"

Best young researcher, Italian National Research Council (CNR), 2009

Our main interest is the understanding of how the alteration in the expression or activity of specific splicing regulators, which occurs frequently in tumors, may influence the profile of alternative splicing of certain genes and directly contribute to tumor progression.
Our studies have made a significant contribution to the understanding of the process of tumorigenesis in particular demonstrating a role, until now underestimated, of the post-transcriptional regulation of the gene expression (and especially of alternative splicing) in the acquisition by transformed cells of the capacity to form metastases. They also provided the first clear evidence that the expression levels of a specific splicing factor (the SR protein, SF2/ASF) are directly linked to tumor progression by influencing the profile of splicing of a specific gene, Ron, coding for a tyrosine kinase receptor involved in the control of cell migration and invasion through extracellular matrix.
Recently, our laboratory has gained new knowledge concerning the control of the alternative splicing machinery and its integration during tumorigenesis with other cellular processes such as signal transduction. In this regard we have identified a specific signal transduction pathway dependent on external stimuli and that, through the regulation of alternative splicing of specific genes, is crucial for the epithelial to mesenchymal cell transition (EMT), a process that occurs during tumor progression and is responsible for the metastatic properties of most human carcinomas.
Finally, we have also begun to characterize the role of alternative splicing during tumor angiogenesis in order to identify new molecular targets selectively expressed on the surface of endothelial cells of the tumor vasculature. Because of easy accessibility, the endothelial cells of tumor vasculature represent potential targets for drug therapies directed toward the inhibition of angiogenesis. These studies could allow the development of new and more effective anti-angiogenic therapy to block tumor growth.
1) Biamonti G, Bonomi S, Gallo S, Ghigna C.
Making alternative splicing decisions during epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences. 2012 Feb 19.

2) Valacca C, Bonomi S, Buratti E, Pedrotti S, Baralle FE, Sette C, Ghigna C§, Biamonti G§.
Sam68 regulates EMT through alternative splicing-activated nonsense-mediated mRNA decay of the SF2/ASF proto-oncogene. 2010 Journal of Cell Biology 191:87-99.
§Co-last author and corresponding author

3) Ghigna C§, De Toledo M, Bonomi S, Valacca C, Gallo S, Apicella M, Eperon I, Tazi J, Biamonti G§.
Pro-metastatic splicing of Ron proto-oncogene mRNA can be reversed: therapeutic potential of bifunctional oligonucleotides and indole derivatives. 2010 RNA Biology 7:495-503.
§Corresponding author

4) Pistoni E, Ghigna C, Gabellini D.
Alternative splicing and muscular dystrophy. 2010 RNA Biology 7:441-52.

5) Ghigna C§, Valacca C, Biamonti G.
Alternative splicing and tumor progression. 2008 Current Genomics 9:556-70.
§Corresponding author

6) Valgardsdottir R, Chiodi I, Giordano M, Rossi A, Bazzini S, Ghigna C, Riva S, Biamonti G.
Transcription of SatelliteIII non-coding RNAs is a general stress response in human cells. 2008 Nucleic Acids Res. 36:423-34.

7) Ghigna C, Giordano S, Shen H, Benvenuto F, Castiglioni F, Comoglio PM, Green MR, Riva S, Biamonti G.
Cell motility is controlled by SF2/ASF through alternative splicing of the Ron protooncogene. 2005 Molecular Cell 20:881-90

8) Chiodi I, Corioni M, Giordano M, Valgardsdottir R, Ghigna C, Cobianchi F, Xu RM, Riva S, Biamonti G. RNA recognition motif 2 directs the recruitment of SF2/ASF to nuclear stress bodies. 2004
Nucleic Acids Res. 32:4127-36.

9) Shen H, Kan JL, Ghigna C, Biamonti G, Green MR. A single polypyrimidine tract binding protein (PTB) binding site mediates splicing inhibition at mouse IgM exons M1 and M2. 2004 RNA 10:787-94.

10) Ghigna C, Moroni M, Porta C, Riva S, Biamonti G. Altered expression of heterogenous nuclear ribonucleoproteins and SR factors in human colon adenocarcinomas. 1998 Cancer Res. 58:5818-24.

11) Biamonti G, Ghigna C, Caporali R, Montecucco C. Heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoproteins (hnRNPs): an emerging family of autoantigens in rheumatic diseases 1998 Clin Exp Rheumatol. 16:317-26.

12) Camacho-Vanegas O, Weighardt F, Ghigna C, Amaldi F, Riva S, Biamonti G.
Growth-dependent and growth-independent translation of messengers for heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoproteins. 1997 Nucleic Acids Res. 25:3950-4.
No projects are available to students for the current accademic year.