U.O. name


Scientific Coordinator



The staff includes at present three full professors, two researchers, one graduated technician and three PhD students. The different components of this group have developed specific technical skills but, through a long standing experience, they have reached high synergy and professional partnership that allows an optimal organization of the experimental research, elaboration and discussion of the data obtained as well as publication of the results for the different research lines.

List of publications

  1. Averna M, Pellegrini M, Cervetto C, Pedrazzi M, Bavestrello M, De Tullio R, Salamino F, Pontremoli S, Melloni E. Physiological Roles of Calpain 1 Associated to Multiprotein NMDA Receptor Complex. PLoS One. 2015 10:e0139750. PMID: 26431040
  2. Averna M, De Tullio R, Pedrazzi M, Bavestrello M, Pellegrini M, Salamino F, Pontremoli S, Melloni E. Interaction between calpain-1 and HSP90: new insights into the regulation of localization and activity of the protease. PLoS One. 2015 10:e0116738. PMID: 25575026
  3. Parodi M, Pedrazzi M, Cantoni C, Averna M, Patrone M, Cavaletto M, Spertino S, Pende D, Balsamo M, Pietra G, Sivori S, Carlomagno S, Mingari MC, Moretta L, Sparatore B, Vitale M. Natural Killer (NK)/melanoma cell interaction induces NK-mediated release of chemotactic High Mobility Group Box-1 (HMGB1) capable of amplifying NK cell recruitment. Oncoimmunology. 2015 4:e1052353. ePMID: 26587323
  4. Stifanese R, Averna M, De Tullio R, Pedrazzi M, Milanese M, Bonifacino T, Bonanno G, Salamino F, Pontremoli S, Melloni E. Role of calpain-1 in the early phase of experimental ALS. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2014 Nov 15;562:1-8. PMID: 25151305
  5. De Tullio R, Averna M, Pedrazzi M, Sparatore B, Salamino F, Pontremoli S, Melloni E.Differential regulation of the calpain-calpastatin complex by the L-domain of calpastatin. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014 1843:2583-91. PMID: 25026177
  6. Averna M, Pedrazzi M, Minicucci L, De Tullio R, Cresta F, Salamino F, Pontremoli S, Melloni E. Calpain inhibition promotes the rescue of F(508)del-CFTR in PBMC from cystic fibrosis patients. PLoS One. 2013 8:e66089. PMID: 23785472
  7. Pedrazzi M, Averna M, Sparatore B, Patrone M, Salamino F, Marcoli M, Maura G, Cervetto C, Frattaroli D, Pontremoli S, Melloni E. Potentiation of NMDA receptor-dependent cell responses by extracellular high mobility group box 1 protein. PLoS One. 2012 7:e44518. PMID: 22952988
  8. Sukati S, Svasti S, Stifanese R, Averna M, Panutdaporn N, Penglong T, Melloni E, Fucharoen S, Katzenmeier G. Clinical severity of β-thalassaemia/Hb E disease is associated with differential activities of the calpain-calpastatin proteolytic system. PLoS One. 2012 7:e37133. PMID: 22615919
  9. Cavone L, Muzzi M, Mencucci R, Sparatore B, Pedrazzi M, Moroni F, Chiarugi A. 18β-glycyrrhetic acid inhibits immune activation triggered by HMGB1, a pro-inflammatory protein found in the tear fluid during conjunctivitis and blepharitis. Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2011 19:180-5 PMID:21426233
  10. Averna M, Stifanese R, De Tullio R, Minicucci L, Cresta F, Palena S, Salamino F, Pontremoli S,Melloni E. Evidence for alteration of calpain/calpastatin system in PBMC of cystic fibrosis patients. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2011 1812:1649-57. PMID: 21983488
  11. Averna M, Stifanese R, Grosso R, Pedrazzi M, De Tullio R, Salamino F, Sparatore B, Pontremoli S, Melloni E. Calpain digestion and HSP90-based chaperone protection modulate the level of plasma membrane F508del-CFTR. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2011 1813:50-9. PMID: 21111762
  12. Averna M, Stifanese R, Grosso R, Pedrazzi M, De Tullio R, Salamino F, Pontremoli S, Melloni E. Role of calpain in the regulation of CFTR (cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator) turnover. Biochem J. 2010 430:255-63. PMID: 20557290
  13. Stifanese R, Averna M, De Tullio R, Pedrazzi M, Beccaria F, Salamino F, Milanese M, Bonanno G, Pontremoli S, Melloni E. Adaptive modifications in the calpain/calpastatin system in brain cells after persistent alteration in Ca2+ homeostasis. J Biol Chem. 2010 285:631-43. PMID: 19880516
  14. Roperto S, De Tullio R, Raso C, , Russo V, Gaspari M, Borzacchiello G, Averna M, Paciello O, Cuda , Roperto F. Calpain3 is expressed in a proteolitically active form in papillomavirus-associated urothelial tumors of the urinary bladder in cattle. PLoS One. 2010 5:e10299. PMID: 20421977
  15. Averna M, Stifanese R, De Tullio R, Beccaria F, Salamino F, Pontremoli S, Melloni E. Calpain-mediated activation of NO synthase in human neuroblastoma SK-N-BE cells. J NeStifanese Rurochem. 2009 110:412-21. PMID: 19457105
  16. De Tullio R, Cantoni C, Broggio C, Prato C, Stifanese R, Averna M, Antolini R, Pontremoli S, Melloni E. Involvement of exon 6-mediated calpastatin intracellular movements in the modulation of calpain activation. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 1790:182-7. PMID: 19103264
  17. Balsamo M, Zambello R, Teramo A, Pedrazzi M, Sparatore B, Scordamaglia F, Pende D, Mingari MC, Moretta L, Moretta A, Semenzato G, Vitale M. Analysis of NK cell/DC interaction in NK-type lymphoproliferative disease of granular lymphocytes (LDGL): role of DNAM-1 and NKp30. Exp Hematol. 2009 37:1167-75. PMID: 19580844
  18. Passalacqua M, Pedrazzi M, Sparatore B, Patrone M, Pontremoli S, Melloni E.Functional role of the charge at the T538 residue in the control of protein kinase Ctheta. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2009 481:202-9. PMID: 19056334
  19. Effects of calpain inhibition on dopaminergic markers and motor function following intrastriatal 6-hydroxydopamine administration in rats. Grant RJ, Sellings LH, Crocker SJ, Melloni E, Park DS, Clarke PB. Neuroscience. 2009 158:558-69. PMID:19007862
  20. HMGB1 as an autocrine stimulus in human T98G glioblastoma cells: role in cell growth and migration. Bassi R, Giussani P, Anelli V, Colleoni T, Pedrazzi M, Patrone M, Viani P, Sparatore B, Melloni E, Riboni L. J Neurooncol. 2008 87:23-33 PMID: 17975708

Main research lines

  • Characterization of the intracellular mechanisms for the control of the activity of the calcium-dependent proteolytical system.
  • Investigation of the extracellular functions of the HMGB1 protein on primary human cells.
  • Altered calpain/calpastatin system in patients affected by cystic fibrosis.
  • Regulation of the NMDA receptor mediated by HMGB1 and calpain activity

Research group ERC sector

LS1 Molecular and Structural Biology and Biochemistry

Internal personnel

Surname Name Department Title Scientific area
Salamino Franca DIMES Full Professor BIO 10
Sparatore Bianca DIMES Full Professor BIO 10
De Tullio Roberta DIMES Assistant Professor BIO 10

Other personnel

  • Averna Monica, ricercatore a tempo determinato DIMES
  • Margherita Bavestrello, dottoranda DIMES
  • Matteo Pellegrini, dottorando DIMES
  • Antonino Martines, dottorando DIMES


  • Dipartimento di Scienze ed Innovazione Tecnologica - Università del Piemonte Orientale
  • IRCCS AOU San Martino-IST, Genova
  • Dipartimento di Medicina, Università degli Studi di Verona
  • Dipartimento di Farmacia, Sezione di Farmacologia e Tossicologia, Università di Genova
  • U.O.C. Genetica Medica Istituto G. Gaslini , Genova
  • Dipartimento di Chimica Biologica, Università di Padova
  • Centro Fibrosi Cistica, Dipartimento di Pediatria, IRCCS G. Gaslini, Genova
  • Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Institute of Molecular Biosciences, Mahidol University, Salaya Campus, Nakorn Pathom, Thailand.