Alessandro Vannini

Alessandro Vannini

Alessandro Vannini is a biochemist. He heads the Centre for Structural Biology after almost 8 years as a Principal Investigatori and Deputy Head of Division at the Institute of Cancer Research in London.

Alessandro is a already operational in Milan at Palazzo Italia, working to develop the Centre for Structural Biology. His laboratory will focus on structural and functional analisys of large macromolecular complexes assembling around RNA Pol III loci and that play a role in gene expression and structural organization of the eukaryotic genome. These mechanisms are often deregulated in human diseases, such as cancer and congenital neurodegenerative diseases.

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  • 07/2020 - Nature Metabolism

    A micronutrient with major effects on cancer cell viability

    Selenium is a micronutrient essential for the generation of selenoproteins, which function predominantly by detoxifying cellular reactive oxygen species. In this issue, Carlisle et al. describe a novel mechanism whereby perturbing selenium utilization via inhibition of SEPHS2, a component of the selenocysteine-biosynthesis pathway, results in selenide poisoning and cancer cell death.

  • 07/2020 - Molecular Cell

    Human Condensin I and II Drive Extensive ATP-Dependent Compaction of Nucleosome-Bound DNA

    Structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC) complexes are essential for genome organization from bacteria to humans, but their mechanisms of action remain poorly understood. Here, we characterize human SMC complexes condensin I and II and unveil the architecture of the human condensin II complex, revealing two putative DNA-entrapment sites. Using single-molecule imaging, we demonstrate that both […]

  • 06/2020 - Cell

    Hybrid Gene Origination Creates Human-Virus Chimeric Proteins during Infection

    RNA viruses are a major human health threat. The life cycles of many highly pathogenic RNA viruses like influenza A virus (IAV) and Lassa virus depends on host mRNA, because viral polymerases cleave 5′-m7G-capped host transcripts to prime viral mRNA synthesis (“cap-snatching”). We hypothesized that start codons within cap-snatched host transcripts could generate chimeric human-viral […]

  • 06/2020 - Nature Communications

    DNA origami-based single-molecule force spectroscopy elucidates RNA Polymerase III pre-initiation complex stability

    The TATA-binding protein (TBP) and a transcription factor (TF) IIB-like factor are important constituents of all eukaryotic initiation complexes. The reason for the emergence and strict requirement of the additional initiation factor Bdp1 in the RNA polymerase (RNAP) III system, however, remained elusive. A poorly studied aspect in this context is the effect of DNA […]

  • 11/2019 - Molecular Cell

    TFIIIC Binding to Alu Elements Controls Gene Expression via Chromatin Looping and Histone Acetylation

    How repetitive elements, epigenetic modifications, and architectural proteins interact ensuring proper genome expression remains poorly understood. Here, we report regulatory mechanisms unveiling a central role of Alu elements (AEs) and RNA polymerase III transcription factor C (TFIIIC) in structurally and functionally modulating the genome via chromatin looping and histone acetylation. Upon serum deprivation, a subset […]