Franco Cotelli
Franco Cotelli
affiliation: Università di Milano
research area(s): Developmental Biology, Molecular Biology
Course: Biomolecular Sciences
University/Istitution: Università di Milano
Franco Cotelli is born on March 2nd, 1946. He is Associate Professor of Developmental Biology at the University of Milano, Faculty of Mathematical, Physical and
Natural Sciences, Department of Biology.
Franco Cotelli has obtained the Laurea Degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Milano, Faculty Fis.Mat.Nat. Franco Cotelli started his research activity in 70s at the Laboratory of Embriology and Laboratory of Electron Microscopy at the Institute of Zoology, University of Milano. In 1978 he moved to the Laboratory of Molecular Embriology and Zoological Station, Naples, where he worked until 1986. In 1982 he became Research Fellow at the University of Milano and Associate Professor of Developmental Biology in 1987. In 1993 he was Visiting scientist UCSD, V. Vaquier Lab, USA and and 1997 TIT, M. Hoshi lab Tokio, Japan. In 2002 and 2004 he was visiting scientist at Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York. From 1990 Member of the Doctorate School in Cellular an Molecular Biology.
Cotelli authorships include about 80 publications (full papers published on international, national journals and book's chapters). Franco Cotelli has been working for several years on oogenesis and developmental processes in Danio rerio (Zebrafish) and Ciona intestinalis (an emerging model in Cordate developmental biology studies). In the 90s his interest has been focused on genes controlling the central nervous system development and differentiation. Furthermore, he extended his interest to maternal gene expression. In the last years he started with a program focused on Zebrafish as model to study Vertebrate Development and genes involved in human diseases. From 1996 a facility to maintain up to 3000 zebrafish is present in his lab at the Department of Biology at the Milano University. In 1996-97 the use of stabilised antisense oligonucleotide, one of the first approach to knockdown technique, has been performed in his laboratory. In the last years he focused his attention on genes involved in the vascular and hematopoietic genetic program in zebrafish. In the last years he promoted the use of Zebrafish in biomedical research contributing to the project and the start up of two new facilities at the University of Brescia and at the University of Modena.
1. Pozzoli O, Vella P, Iaffaldano G, Parente V, Devanna P, Lacovich M, Fascio U, Longoni D, Lora Lamia C., Cotelli F, Capogrossi MC, Pesce M. - (2011) Endothelial fate and angiogenic properties of human CD34+ progenitor cells in Zebrafish. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. published April 28, 2011, 10.1161/ATVBAHA.111.226969
2. Bresciani E, Confalonieri S, Cermenati S, Cimbro S, Foglia E, Beltrame M, Di Fiore PP, Cotelli F.- (2010) Zebrafish numb and numblike are involved in primitive erythrocyte differentiation. PLoS One. 5(12):e14296.
3. Zizioli D, Forlanelli E, Guarienti M, Nicoli S, Fanzani A, Bresciani R, Borsani G, Preti A, Cotelli F, Schu P. - (2010) Characterization of the AP-1 μ1A and μ1B adaptins in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Dev Dyn. 239(9):2404-12.
4. Donnini S, Solito R, Cetti E, Corti F, Giachetti A, Carra S, Beltrame M, Cotelli F, Ziche M. Abeta peptides accelerate the senescence of endothelial cells in vitro and in vivo, impairing angiogenesis. FASEB J. 2010 Jul;24(7):2385-95. Epub 2010 Mar 5.
5. Geudens I, Herpers R, Hermans K, Segura I, Ruiz de Almodovar C, Bussmann J, De Smet F, Vandevelde W, Hogan BM, Siekmann A, Claes F, Moore JC, Pistocchi AS, Loges S, Mazzone M, Mariggi G, Bruyère F, Cotelli F, Kerjaschki D, Noël A, Foidart JM, Gerhardt H, Ny A, Langenberg T, Lawson ND, Duckers HJ, Schulte-Merker S, Carmeliet P, Dewerchin M. Role of delta-like-4/Notch in the formation and wiring of the lymphatic network in zebrafish. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2010 Sep;30(9):1695-702. Epub 2010 May 13.
6. Moleri S, Cappellano G, Gaudenzi G, Cermenati S, Cotelli F, Horner DS,
Beltrame M. The HMGB protein gene family in zebrafish: Evolution and
embryonic expression patterns. Gene Expr Patterns. 2011 Jan-Feb;11(1-2):3-11. Epub 2010 Sep 18.
7. Rissone A, Sangiorgio L, Monopoli M, Beltrame M, Zucchi I, Bussolino F, Arese M, and Cotelli F. Characterization of the neuroligin gene family expression and evolution in zebrafish. Dev Dyn 239: 688-702, 2010.
8. Montero-Balaguer M, Swirsding K, Orsenigo F, Cotelli F, Mione M, and Dejana E. Stable vascular connections and remodeling require full expression of VE-cadherin in zebrafish embryos. PLoS One 4: e5772, 2009.
9. Pistocchi A, Feijoo CG, Cabrera P, Villablanca EJ, Allende ML, and Cotelli F. The zebrafish prospero homolog prox1 is required for mechanosensory hair cell differentiation and functionality in the lateral line. BMC Dev Biol 9: 58, 2009.

10. Schnapp E, Pistocchi AS, Karampetsou E, Foglia E, Lamia CL, Cotelli F, Cossu G. Induced early expression of mrf4 but not myog rescues myogenesis in the myod/myf5 double-morphant zebrafish embryo. J Cell Sci. 2009;122, 481-8.

11. Cermenati S, Moleri S, Cimbro S, Corti P, Del Giacco L, Amodeo R, Dejana E, Koopman P, Cotelli F, Beltrame M. Sox18 and Sox7 play redundant roles in vascular development. Blood. 2008; 111, 2657-66.
12. Del Giacco L, Pistocchi A, Cotelli F, Fortunato AE, and Sordino P. A peek inside the neurosecretory brain through Orthopedia lenses. Dev Dyn 237: 2295-2303, 2008.
13. Nicoli S, Ribatti D, Cotelli F, and Presta M. Mammalian tumor xenografts induce neovascularization in zebrafish embryos. Cancer Res 67: 2927-2931, 2007.
14. Villablanca EJ, Pistocchi A, Court FA, Cotelli F, Bordignon C, Allende ML, Traversari C, and Russo V. (2007) Abrogation of prostaglandin E2/EP4 signaling impairs the development of rag1+ lymphoid precursors in the thymus of zebrafish embryos. J Immunol 179: 357-364.
Project Title:
Zebrafish as model system to study huntingtin's domains and function
Huntingtin (htt) is a completely soluble 3144 amino acid protein characterised by the presence of an amino-terminal polymorphic polyglutamine (polyQ) tract whose
aberrant expansion causes Huntington's disease (HD), a progressive neurodegenerative disorder (Reiner, 1998; Rosas, 2003). HD is dominantly inherited and caused by a gain-of function of the the mutant protein. However, more recent data show that some aspects of the disease might be caused by reduced activity of the physiological protein.
Recent biological and bioinformatic studies suggested that wild-type huntingtin activities may be embedded in three possible protein domains, one of which, the N-terminal fragment, may have arisen during phylogenesis and conferred to the protein its neuronal specific activities. These studies revealed also that the polyQ in the N-terminal has been selected as a recent property of huntingtin, suggesting it contributes to impose neuronal functions to the protein.
The OVERALL OBJECT of this project is to obtain information on huntingtin function and domains by means of an evolutionary study. Particularly, we will functionally evaluate the putative neuronal activities of huntingtin N-terminal domain and its downstream effectors and whether these activities have become progressively more specialized during deuterostome evolution, possibly in coincidence with the formation of the nervous system. We will also test if an expanded polyQ has an impact on these activities.