Overview | Research projects | Group members | Collaborations | Selected Publications


The major focus of the Laboratory of Transcriptional neurobiology is on genetic neurodegenerative diseases with a late-adult onset of symptoms. We are particularly interested in the transcriptional alteration processes happening in the brain and contributing to neuronal death. The general approach is to test specific hypothesis in in vitro and in vivo models of disease with the goal to validate the results in patients. 

Research projects

At the moment, we are developing three projects that are at different stages of investigation in the lab:

  • The first project capitalizes on the PIs PhD and postdoctoral studies and aims to investigate the role of RNAs (exRNAs), contained in extracellular vesicles and delivered to recipient cells (horizontal transfer of RNA), in neurodegeneration.
  • The second project builds on the PI’s postdoctoral work and wants to decipher how mutations in a specific enzyme, called transglutaminase 6, lead to spinocerebellar ataxia 35.
  • The last project is a collaborative project with the Laboratory of Neurodegenerative diseases focused on the understanding of arginine methylation’s impact in polyglutamine diseases, characterized by transcriptional dysregulation.

For more information, please contact the PI directly.

Group members

  • Manuela Basso, PI
  • Debasmita Tripathy, Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Alice Migazzi, PhD Student (in collaboration with Pennuto’s Lab)

A “borsa di studio per neolaureati UniTN” is currently available. Candidates with interest in cerebellar biology or extracellular vesicles are warmly invited to contact the PI (manuela.basso [at] unitn.it). Undergraduate, master students interested in the research topics as subject for their experimental theses are also encouraged to contact the PI.


  • Dr. Pennuto, DTI Laboratory of Neurodegenerative diseases, CIBIO, University of Trento.
  • Dr. Baudet, The Giovanni-Armenise Laboratory of Axonal Neurobiology, CIBIO, University of Trento.
  • Dr. Bonetto and Dr. Bendotti, Mario Negri Institute, Milan, Italy.
  • Prof.ssa Francesca Baldelli-Bombelli at the Politecnico di Milan.
  • Prof. Tumiatti, Dr. Milelli, Dipartimento di Scienze per la Qualità della Vita, Alma Mater Studiorum-Università di Bologna, campus di Rimini.
  • Prof. Alexandra Durr, L'Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle Épinière, Parigi, Francia.
  • Prof. Aeschlimann, University of Cardiff, UK and Prof. Hadjivassiliou al Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.

Selected publications

Basso M., Sleiman S, Ratan RR. S.I. Epigenetics. Neurotherapeutics: the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics 10(4): 551-555. (2013) Looking above but not beyond the genome for therapeutics in neurology and psychiatry: epigenetic proteins and RNAs find a new focus.

Basso, M., Ratan R. R. Journal of cerebral blood flow and metabolism: official journal of the International Society of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism. 33(6): 809-818. (2013) Transglutaminase inhibition abrogates oxidative-stress mediated and excitotoxic death: a new epigenetic modulator on the CNS block.

Basso, M.*, Pozzi S.*, Tortarolo M., Fiordaliso F., Bisighini C., Pasetto L., Spaltro G., Lidonnici D., Genzano  F., Battaglia E., Bendotti C., Bonetto V. The Journal of biological chemistry 288(22): 15699-15711. (2013) Mutant SOD1 induces protein secretion pathway alterations and exosome release in astrocytes: implications in motor neuron pathology and disease spreading in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Karuppagounder S.*, Basso M.*, Sleiman S.*, Ma T.*, Speer R.*, Smirnova N., Gazaryan I., and Ratan R.R. J Neurosci Res. (2013) Ischemia Suppresses Hypoxic Induction of Hypoxia Inducible Factor-1α by Inhibition of synthesis not Enhanced degradation (*, Equal authorship).

Basso, M.#, Berlin, J., Ko, B., Haskew-Layton, R., Sleiman, S.F., Antonyak, M.A., Cerione, R.A., Iismaa, S.E., Willis, D., and Ratan, R.R#. Journal of Neuroscience, 32(19), 6561-6569 (2012) Transglutaminase inhibition protects against stress-induced neuronal death downstream of pathological Erk activation. # corresponding authorship.

Featured article in This Week, The Journal of Neuroscience.Highlighted in SciBX (May 24th 2012).

Basso, M. Targeting transcriptional dysregulation in Huntington’s disease: description of therapeutic approaches. Chapter in the book "Huntington's Disease - Core Concepts and Current Advances" edited by Nagehan Ersoy Tunali, ISBN 978-953-307-953-0, InTech, February 2, 2012. Book Chapter.

McConoughey, S. J*., Basso, M.*#, Niatsetskaya, Z. V., Sleiman, S. F., Smirnova, N. A., Langley, B. C., Mahishi, L., Cooper, A. J., Antonyak, M. A., Cerione, R. A., Li, B., Starkov, A., Chaturvedi, R. K., Beal, M. F., Coppola, G., Geschwind, D. H., Ryu, H., Xia, L., Iismaa, S. E., Pallos, J., Pasternack, R., Hils, M., Fan, J., Raymond, L. A., Marsh, J. L., Thompson, L. M., and Ratan, R. R#. EMBO Mol Med 2(9), 349-70 (2010). Inhibition of transglutaminase 2 mitigates transcriptional dysregulation in models of Huntington disease. (* Equal authorship; # corresponding authorship).

Closeup by Kazemi-Esfarjani and La Spada EMBO Mol Med 2, 335–337.

Sleiman, S. F.*, Basso, M.*, Mahishi, L., Kozikowski, A. P., Donohoe, M. E., Langley, B., and Ratan, R. R. Expert Opin Investig Drugs 18(5), 573-84 (2009). Putting the 'HAT' back on survival signalling: the promises and challenges of HDAC inhibition in the treatment of neurological conditions. Review.

Basso, M., Samengo, G., Nardo, G., Massignan, T., D'Alessandro, G., Tartari, S., Cantoni, L., Marino, M., Cheroni, C., De Biasi, S., Giordana, M. T., Strong, M. J., Estevez, A. G., Salmona, M., Bendotti, C., and Bonetto, V. PLoS One 4(12), e8130 (2009). Characterization of detergent-insoluble proteins in ALS indicates a causal link between nitrative stress and aggregation in pathogenesis.

Basso, M., Massignan, T., Samengo, G., Cheroni, C., De Biasi, S., Salmona, M., Bendotti, C., and Bonetto, V. J Biol Chem 281(44), 33325-35 (2006). Insoluble mutant SOD1 is partly oligoubiquitinated in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis mice.

Basso, M.*, Giraudo, S.*, Corpillo, D., Bergamasco, B., Lopiano, L., and Fasano, M. Proteomics 4(12), 3943-52 (2004). Proteome analysis of human substantia nigra in Parkinson's disease.

Basso, M., Giraudo, S., Lopiano, L., Bergamasco, B., Bosticco, E., Cinquepalmi, A., and Fasano, M. Neurol Sci 24(3), 155-6 (2003). Proteome analysis of mesencephalic tissues: evidence for Parkinson's disease.

A complete list of publications can be found at: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-9278-8960