Alessandro Vannini

Alessandro Vannini

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

His laboratory focuses 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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  • 12/2020 - Nature Communications

    Structure of human RNA polymerase III

    In eukaryotes, RNA Polymerase (Pol) III is specialized for the transcription of tRNAs and other short, untranslated RNAs. Pol III is a determinant of cellular growth and lifespan across eukaryotes. Upregulation of Pol III transcription is observed in cancer and causative Pol III mutations have been described in neurodevelopmental disorders and hypersensitivity to viral infection. […]

  • 10/2020 - Biochemical Society Transactions

    Condensin complexes: understanding loop extrusion one conformational change at a time

    Condensin and cohesin, both members of the structural maintenance of chromosome (SMC) family, contribute to the regulation and structure of chromatin. Recent work has shown both condensin and cohesin extrude DNA loops and most likely work via a conserved mechanism. This review focuses on condensin complexes, highlighting recent in vitro work characterising DNA loop formation and protein […]

  • 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 […]