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Alessandra d'Azzo, PhD
Alessandra d'Azzo, PhD

Alessandra d'Azzo, PhD

Member, St. Jude Faculty

  • Jewelers For Children Endowed Chair in Genetics and Gene Therapy



MS – University of Pavia, Italy (1979)
PhD – University of Milano, Italy (1973)
PhD – Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (1982)

Research Interests

  • In animal models of pediatric lysosomal storage diseases, we study mechanisms of pathogenesis downstream of lysosomal enzymes that are also implicated in adult diseases and aging (i.e. Alzheimer’s Disease, fibrosis, and cancer).
  • In animal models of OZZ and its target substrates, we study the regulation of cytoskeletal-associated proteins, and membrane dynamics.

Lysosomal Biogenesis and Lysosomal Storage Diseases

Therapy for Lysosomal Storage Diseases

Regulation and function of OZZ-E3, a muscle-specific ubiquitin ligase complex

d'Azzo Lab Members

Selected Publications

Bongiovanni A, Cusimano A, Annunziata I, d'Azzo A. Sialylation of host proteins as targetable risk factor for COVID-19 susceptibility and spreading: A hypothesis. FASEB Bioadv Jan 13;3(3):192-197, 2021. doi: 10.1096/fba.2020-00073. eCollection Mar 2021. PMID: 33733058

Machado ER, Annunziata I, van de Vlekkert D, Grosveld GC, d'Azzo A. Lysosomes and Cancer Progression: A Malignant Liaison. Front Cell Dev Biol Feb 26;9:642494, 2021. doi: 10.3389/fcell.2021.642494. eCollection 2021. PMID: 33718382. Review.

Van De Vlekkert D, Qiu X, Annunziata I, d'Azzo A. Isolation, Purification and Characterization of Exosomes fromFibroblast Cultures of Skeletal Muscle. Bio Protoc Apr 5;10(7):e3576, 2020. doi: 10.21769/BioProtoc.3576. eCollection Apr 5, 2020. PMID: 33659546 .

Cadaoas J, Hu H, Boyle G, Gomero E, Mosca R, Jayashankar K, Machado M, Cullen S, Guzman B, van de Vlekkert D, Annunziata I, Vellard M, Kakkis E, Koppaka V, d'Azzo A. Galactosialidosis: preclinical enzyme replacement therapy in a mouse model of the disease, a proof of concept. Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev Nov 20;20:191-203, 2020. doi: 10.1016/j.omtm.2020.11.012. eCollection 2021 Mar 12, 2021. PMID: 33426146.

Luu AR, Wong C, Agrawal V, Wise N, Handyside B, Lo MJ, Pacheco G, Felix JB, Giaramita A, d'Azzo A, Vincelette J, Bullens S, Bunting S, Christianson TM, Hague CM, LeBowitz JH, Yogalingam G. Intermittent enzyme replacement therapy with recombinant human β-galactosidase prevents neuraminidase 1 deficiency. J Biol Chem Sep 25;295(39):13556-13569, 2020. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA119.010794. Epub Jul 28, 2020. PMID: 32727849

Han MJ, Annunziata I, Weesner J, Campos Y, Salie M, O'Reilly C, d'Azzo A. Generation of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hIPSCs) from sialidosis types I and II patients with pathogenic neuraminidase 1 mutations. Stem Cell Res Jul;46:101836, 2020. doi: 10.1016/j.scr.2020.101836. Epub May 6, 2020.

d'Azzo A, Annunziata I. Transcription factor competition regulates lysosomal biogenesis and autophagy. Mol Cell Oncol Jan 6;7(2):1685840, 2020. doi: 10.1080/23723556.2019.1685840. eCollection 2020. PMID: 32158913.

Mosca R, van de Vlekkert D, Campos Y, Fremuth LE, Cadaoas J, Koppaka V, Kakkis E, Tifft C, Toro C, Allievi S, Gellera C, Canafoglia L, Visser G, Annunziata I, d'Azzo A. Conventional and Unconventional Therapeutic Strategies for Sialidosis Type I. J Clin Med Mar 4;9(3):695, 2020. doi: 10.3390/jcm9030695. PMID: 32143456

Caciotti A, Melani F, Tonin R, Cellai L, Catarzi S, Procopio E, Chilleri C, Mavridou I, Michelakakis H, Fioravanti A, d'Azzo A, Guerrini R, Morrone A. Type I sialidosis, a normosomatic lysosomal disease, in the differential diagnosis of late-onset ataxia and myoclonus: An overview. Mol Genet Metab Feb;129(2):47-58, 2020. doi: 10.1016/j.ymgme.2019.09.005. Epub Oct 31, 2019. PMID: 31711734 Review.

Chen JC, Luu AR, Wise N, Angelis R, Agrawal V, Mangini L, Vincelette J, Handyside B, Sterling H, Lo MJ, Wong H, Galicia N, Pacheco G, Van Vleet J, Giaramita A, Fong S, Roy SM, Hague C, Lawrence R, Bullens S, Christianson TM, d'Azzo A, Crawford BE, Bunting S, LeBowitz JH, Yogalingam G. Intracerebroventricular enzyme replacement therapy with β-galactosidase reverses brain pathologies due to GM1 gangliosidosis in mice. J Biol Chem Sep 25;295(39):13532-13555, 2020. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA119.009811. Epub Sep 3, 2019. PMID:31481471

Annunziata I, van de Vlekkert D, Wolf E, Finkelstein D, Neale G, Machado E, Mosca R, Campos Y, Tillman H, Roussel MF, Andrew Weesner J, Ellen Fremuth L, Qiu X, Han MJ, Grosveld GC, d'Azzo A. MYC competes with MiT/TFE in regulating lysosomal biogenesis and autophagy through an epigenetic rheostat. Nat Commun Aug 9;10(1):3623, 2019. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-11568-0. PMID: 31399583

van de Vlekkert D, Demmers J, Nguyen XX, Campos Y, Machado E, Annunziata I, Hu H, Gomero E, Qiu X, Bongiovanni A, Feghali-Bostwick CA, d'Azzo A. Excessive exosome release is the pathogenic pathway linking a lysosomal deficiency to generalized fibrosis. Sci Adv Jul 17;5(7):eaav3270, 2019. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aav3270. eCollection Jul 2019. PMID: 31328155

Platt FM, d'Azzo A, Davidson BL, Neufeld EF, Tifft CJ. Lysosomal storage diseases. Nat Rev Dis Primers Oct 1;4(1):27, 2018. doi: 10.1038/s41572-018-0025-4. PMID: 30275469. Review.

Romancino DP, Buffa V, Caruso S, Ferrara I, Raccosta S, Notaro A, Campos Y, Noto R, Martorana V, Cupane A, Giallongo A, d'Azzo A, Manno M, Bongiovanni A. Palmitoylation is a post-translational modification of Alix regulating the membrane organization of exosome-like small extracellular vesicles. Biochim Biophys Acta Gen Subj Dec;1862(12):2879-2887, 2018. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagen.2018.09.004. Epub Sep 7, 2018. PMID: 30251702.

Annunziata I, Sano R, d'Azzo A. Mitochondria-associated ER membranes (MAMs) and lysosomal storage diseases. Cell Death Dis Feb 28;9(3):328, 2018. doi: 10.1038/s41419-017-0025-4. PMID: 29491402. Review.

Annunziata I, d'Azzo A. Galactosialidosis: historic aspects and overview of investigated and emerging treatment options. Expert Opin Orphan Drugs 7;5(2):131-141, 2017. doi: 10.1080/21678707.2016.1266933. Epub 2016 Dec 14. PMID: 28603679.

Campos Y, Qiu X, Gomero E, Wakefield R, Horner L, Brutkowski W, Han YG, Solecki D, Frase S, Bongiovanni A, d'Azzo A. Alix-mediated assembly of the actomyosin-tight junction polarity complex preserves epithelial polarity and epithelial barrier. Nat Commun Jun 23;7:11876, 2016. doi: 10.1038/ncomms11876. PMID: 27336173.

Machado E, White-Gilbertson S, van de Vlekkert D, Janke L, Moshiach S, Campos Y, Finkelstein D, Gomero E, Mosca R, Qiu X, Morton CL, Annunziata I, d'Azzo A. Regulated lysosomal exocytosis mediates cancer progression. Sci Adv Dec 18;1(11):e1500603, 2015. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1500603. eCollection Dec 2015. PMID: 26824057.

d'Azzo A, Machado E, Annunziata I. Pathogenesis, Emerging therapeutic targets and Treatment in Sialidosis. Expert Opin Orphan Drugs 3(5):491-504, 2015. doi: 10.1517/21678707.2015.1025746. Epub Apr 13, 2015. PMID: 26949572.

Bonten EJ, Annunziata I, d'Azzo A. Lysosomal multienzyme complex: pros and cons of working together. Cell Mol Life Sci Jun;71(11):2017-32, 2014. doi: 10.1007/s00018-013-1538-3. Epub Dec 15, 2013. PMID: 24337808. Review.

Annunziata I, Patterson A, Helton D, Hu H, Moshiach S, Gomero E, Nixon R, d'Azzo A. Lysosomal NEU1 deficiency affects amyloid precursor protein levels and amyloid-β secretion via deregulated lysosomal exocytosis. Nat Commun 4:2734, 2013. doi: 10.1038/ncomms3734. PMID: 24225533.

Bonten EJ, Yogalingam G, Hu H, Gomero E, van de Vlekkert D, d'Azzo A. Chaperone-mediated gene therapy with recombinant AAV-PPCA in a new mouse model of type I sialidosis. Biochim Biophys Acta Oct;1832(10):1784-92, 2013. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2013.06.002. Epub Jun 12, 2013. PMID: 23770387.

Annunziata I, d'Azzo A. Interorganellar membrane microdomains: dynamic platforms in the control of calcium signaling and apoptosis. Cells Aug 2;2(3):574-90, 2013. doi: 10.3390/cells2030574. PMID: 24709798.

Bongiovanni A, Romancino DP, Campos Y, Paterniti G, Qiu X, Moshiach S, Di Felice V, Vergani N, Ustek D, d'Azzo A. Alix protein is substrate of Ozz-E3 ligase and modulates actin remodeling in skeletal muscle. J Biol Chem Apr 6;287(15):12159-71, 2012. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.297036. Epub Feb 13, 2012. PMID: 22334701

Hu H, Gomero E, Bonten E, Gray JT, Allay J, Wu Y, Wu J, Calabrese C, Nienhuis A, d'Azzo A. Preclinical dose-finding study with a liver-tropic, recombinant AAV-2/8 vector in the mouse model of galactosialidosis. Mol Ther Feb;20(2):267-74, 2012. doi: 10.1038/mt.2011.227. Epub Oct 18, 2011. PMID: 22008912

d'Azzo A, Bonten E. Molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis in a glycosphingolipid and a glycoprotein storage disease. Biochem Soc Trans Dec;38(6):1453-7, 2010. doi: 10.1042/BST0381453. PMID: 21118106.

Baek RC, Broekman ML, Leroy SG, Tierney LA, Sandberg MA, d'Azzo A, Seyfried TN, Sena-Esteves M. AAV-mediated gene delivery in adult GM1-gangliosidosis mice corrects lysosomal storage in CNS and improves survival. PLoS One Oct 18;5(10):e13468, 2010. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0013468. PMID: 20976108.

Campos Y, Qiu X, Zanoteli E, Moshiach S, Vergani N, Bongiovanni A, Harris AJ, d'Azzo A. Ozz-E3 ubiquitin ligase targets sarcomeric embryonic myosin heavy chain during muscle development. PLoS One Mar 24;5(3):e9866, 2010. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009866. PMID: 20352047

Sano R, Annunziata I, Patterson A, Moshiach S, Gomero E, Opferman J, Forte M, d'Azzo A. GM1-ganglioside accumulation at the mitochondria-associated ER membranes links ER stress to Ca(2+)-dependent mitochondrial apoptosis. Mol Cell Nov 13;36(3):500-11, 2009. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2009.10.021. PMID: 19917257.

Yogalingam G, Bonten EJ, van de Vlekkert D, Hu H, Moshiach S, Connell SA, d'Azzo A. Dev Cell Jul;15(1):74-86, 2008. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2008.05.005. PMID: 18606142

Bonten EJ, Campos Y, Zaitsev V, Nourse A, Waddell B, Lewis W, Taylor G, d'Azzo A. Heterodimerization of the sialidase NEU1 with the chaperone protective protein/cathepsin A prevents its premature oligomerization. J Biol Chem Oct 9;284(41):28430-28441, 2009. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M109.031419. Epub Aug 7, 2009. PMID: 19666471.

Zanoteli E, van de Vlekkert D, Bonten EJ, Hu H, Mann L, Gomero EM, Harris AJ, Ghersi G, d'Azzo A. Muscle degeneration in neuraminidase 1-deficient mice results from infiltration of the muscle fibers by expanded connective tissue. Biochim Biophys Acta Jul-Aug;1802(7-8):659-72, 2010. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2010.04.002. Epub Apr 11, 2010. PMID: 20388541.

See full list of publications

Last update: May 2021