Professor Gerry Melino

Head of 'Apoptosis & Cancer' Section

Headshot of Professor Gerry Melino

MRC Toxicology Unit
Hodgkin Building
Lancaster Road

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 5551

Qualifications and Personal History

Head of the “Apoptosis & Cancer” section, MRC Toxicology Unit, UK.

Honorary Professor at Department of Cancer Studies & Molecular Medicine (CSMM), University of Leicester, UK.

Professor of Molecular Biology, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Cell Death and Differentiation.

Research Interests

Prof G Melino published more than 350 papers crucially contributing to the undersanding of Programmed Cell Death in tumor and epidermis.

He focused on p63 and p73 (members of the p53-family of tumor suppressors), showing their role in skin development and tumorigenesis, respectively. Indeed, he discovered a new molecular mechanism responsible for anueploidy (a cause of cancer progression) mediated by p73 interaction with proteins of the kinetochore, which assures accurate chromosomal segregation during mitosis. He also showed that p63 and p73-induced apoptosis depends on the transactivation of pro-apoptotic genes, like CD95, Caspase-8 PUMA and Noxa. This mechanism is a prognostic marker in cancer.

Furthermore, Prof. Melino showed that the ubiquitin ligases Itch and FBX045 mediate the proteasomal degradation of p63 and p73. He developed chemical inhibitors of Itch in collaboration with the MRC and Prof. Ciechanover (Nobel Laureate for discovering proteasomal degradation) and is presently investigating their therapeutic potential. He also proved that Nitric Oxide inhibits apoptosis through S-nitrosylation or induces necrosis after reaction with Reactive Oxygen Species.

Finally, his lab identified the biochemical pathways of cell death in keratinocytes, allowing the identification of a new genetic disease and unveiling the molecular cause of other diseases, particularly:

Selected Publications

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