• Istituto di Biologia e Patologia Molecolari

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Istitute of Molecular Biology and Pathology - National Research Council
Department of Biology and Biotecnology - Charles Darwin
Sapienza University of Rome - Istituto di Genetica Piazzale A. Moro 5, 00185 Roma
My research studies are centered on the molecular mechanisms that regulate cytokinesis and more specifically on the role of vesicle trafficking in this process. Animal cell cytokinesis involves mechanisms that couple the dynamics of the contractile actomyosin ring to vesicle transport and plasma membrane remodelling at the cleavage furrow. Deregulation of cytokinesis has been linked to several human diseases including blood disorders, Lowe syndrome and cancer. Thus, a comprehensive analysis of the molecular pathways underlying cytokinesis, can lead to novel strategies to treat cancer and other diseases. 
For most of my studies we use Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism, which allows investigating cytokinesis in several cell types and with the ease of sophisticated genetic tools.
My research activities are currently focusing on two main projects: 
1) The oncoprotein GOLPH3 and membrane trafficking in Drosophila cytokinesis. Project funded by Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca sul Cancro (AIRC). 
2) A Drosophila model for COG7-associated disease and other COG-related genetic disorders. Project funded by Fondazione Telethon. 
1. Sechi S*, Frappaolo A*, Karimpour-Ghahnavieh A, Gottardo M, Burla R, Di Francesco L, Szafer-Glusman E, Schininà E, Fuller MT, Saggio I, Riparbelli MG, Callaini G, Giansanti MG. Drosophila Doublefault protein coordinates multiple events during male meiosis by controlling mRNA translation. Development. 2019. 146(22). doi: 10.1242/dev.183053
(*) Shared First coauthorship

2. Frappaolo A.*, Sechi S.*, Kumagai T.*, Karimpour-Ghahnavieh A., Tiemeyer M., Giansanti M.G. Modeling Congenital Disorders of N-Linked Glycoprotein Glycosylation in Drosophila melanogaster. Front Genet. 2018. 9:436. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2018.00436
(*) Shared First coauthorship
3. Frappaolo A.*, Sechi S.*, Kumagai T., Robinson S., Fraschini R., Karimpour Ghahnavieh A., Belloni G., Piergentili R., Tiemeyer M and Giansanti M.G. COG7 deficiency in Drosophila generates multifaceted developmental, behavioral, and protein glycosylation phenotypes. Journal of Cell Science. 2017. 130:3637-3649. doi: 10.1242/jcs.209049
(*) Shared First coauthorship.
4. Sechi S., Frappaolo A., Fraschini R., Capalbo L., Gottardo M., Belloni G., Glover D.M., Wainman A., Giansanti M.G. Rab1 interacts with GOLPH3 and controls Golgi structure and contractile ring constriction during cytokinesis in Drosophila melanogaster. Open Biol. 2017. 7(1). pii: 160257. doi: 10.1098/rsob.160257
5. Frappaolo A., Sechi S., Belloni G., Piergentili R., Giansanti M.G. Visualization of cleavage furrow proteins in fixed dividing spermatocytes. Methods in Cell Biology. 2017. 137:85-103. doi: 10.1016/bs.mcb.2016.03.035
6. Giansanti M.G., Vanderleest T.E., Jewett C.E., Sechi S., Frappaolo A., Fabian L., Robinett C.C., Brill J.A., Loerke D., Fuller M.T., Blankenship J.T. Exocyst-Dependent Membrane Addition Is Required for Anaphase Cell Elongation and Cytokinesis in Drosophila. PLoS Genetics. 2015. 11(11):e1005632. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005632
7. Sechi S., Frappaolo A., Belloni G., Colotti G., Giansanti M.G. The multiple cellular functions of the oncoprotein Golgi phosphoprotein 3. Oncotarget. 2015. Feb 28;6(6):3493-506. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.3051
8. Sechi S., Frappaolo A., Belloni G., Giansanti M.G. The roles of the oncoprotein GOLPH3 in contractile ring assembly and membrane trafficking during cytokinesis. Biochemical Society Transactions. 2015. 43(1):117-21. doi: 10.1042/BST20140264
9. Sechi S., Colotti G., Belloni G., Mattei V., Frappaolo A., Raffa G.D., Fuller M.T., Giansanti M.G. GOLPH3 is essential for contractile ring formation and Rab11 localization to the cleavage site during cytokinesis in Drosophila melanogaster. PLoS Genetics. 2014. 10(5): e1004305. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1004305
10. Belloni G.*, Sechi S.*, Riparbelli M.G., Fuller M.T., Callaini G., Giansanti M.G. Mutations in Cog7 affect Golgi structure, meiotic cytokinesis and sperm development during Drosophila spermatogenesis. Journal of Cell Science. 2012. 125:(22):5441-5452. doi: 10.1242/jcs.108878
(*) Shared First coauthorship
11. Giansanti M.G., Sechi S., Frappaolo A., Belloni G. and Piergentili R. Cytokinesis in Drosophila male meiosis. Spermatogenesis. 2012. 2(3):185–196. doi: 10.4161/spmg.21711
I work in the Drosophila membrane trafficking laboratory - see collaborations
Dr. Maria Grazia Giansanti
Feb 2013 PhD in Genetics and Molecular biology
Feb 2008 Laurea cum laude in Genomic Biotecnology, Università di Roma Sapienza, supervisor: Dr. Giansanti MG.
Jul 2005 First Level degree in Biotecnology, Università di Roma Tor vergata.
Research experience
Jul 2019-present: CNR-Research scientist (permanent position)

May 2018-Aug 2019-Research scientist, III level; TD supported by a Project entitled “Golgi phosphoprotein 3 and membrane trafficking in cytokinesis and cell proliferation”; project funded by AIRC (PI, Dr. Giansanti).

Nov 2016-May 2018 CNR-Research scientist, III level; TD supported by a Project entitled “The oncoprotein GOLPH3 and membrane trafficking in Drosophila cytokinesis”; project funded by AIRC (PI, Dr. Giansanti).

Nov 2015-Oct 2016 Postdoctoral fellow at IBPM-CNR; Project title: “A Drosophila model for study neurological defects associated with Congenital Disorder of Glycosylation type IIe”; project funded by TELETHON (PI, Dr. Giansanti).

Nov 2014-Oct 2015 Postdoctoral fellow at IBPM-CNR; Project title: The oncoprotein GOLPH3 and membrane trafficking in Drosophila cytokinesis”; project funded by AIRC (PI, Dr. Giansanti).

Nov 2012-Oct 2014 Postdoctoral fellow. Project title: Genetic and molecular analysis of Drosophila cytokinesis”; project funded by AIRC (PI, Dr. Giansanti).

Nov 2009-Oct 2012 PhD student; Project title: Identification of proteins interacting with the COG7 subunit of COG complex and with GOLPH3.

Mar 2008-Oct 2009 Graduate Fellow in Dr. Giansanti lab; Project title: Molecular cloning of the Drosophila orthologue of human GOLPH3.

Dec 2006-Feb 2008 Student under the supervision of Dr. Giansanti and Prof. M. Gatti; Project title: Genetic and cytological characterization of doublefault (dbf) and sauron, two mutants affecting male meiosis.

Jun 2014 Winner of “Hausmann & Co./Patek Philippe Award for young talents, 2014 edition”; the prize was awarded to Dr. Sechi for hisresearch studies conducted in the field of oncology and published in 2014 in PLoS Genet. 
10(5): e1004305. 

Technical skills and competence
• Immunofluorescence analysis of Drosophila spermatocytes and neuroblasts
• Drosophila Genetics
• RNAi silencing technology
• Gene cloning
• DNA Transfection in S2 cells 
• Protein expression in E. coli  
• Protein purification 
• Antibody purification 
• Western Blot analysis
• Analysis of protein interaction by GST-pull down and Co-immunoprecipitation experiments
• Time-lapse video microscopy using Metamorph software and a confocal spinning disk 
• Bioinformatics expertise