Gene Regulation, Stems Cells and Cancer


Reprogramming and Regeneration

Maria Pia Cosma (ICREA Research Professor)
Frederic Lluís
Daniela Sanges, Wassim Altarche, Karthik Arumugam, Lucia Marucci
Giacoma Simonte, Joao Frade, Elisa Pedone, Maria Aurelia Ricci, Francesco Aulicino, Francesco Sottile, Ilda Theka
Angel de Jaime
Vanessa Chiganças, Umberto Di Vicino, Maribel Muñoz, Neus Romo


Marucci et al. Cell Reports 2014

In our group, we are investigating the mechanisms controlling the reprogramming of somatic cells and tissue regeneration with an emphasis on Wnt signalling pathway activity.  Activation of the Wnt/β-catenin signalling pathway enhances reprogramming of somatic cells after their fusion with stem cells. Remarkably, the activity of Wnt/β-catenin signalling also controls regeneration in response to damage in lower vertebrates. Our main goal is to investigate whether activation of Wnt/β-catenin signalling controls tissue regeneration by enhancing cell-fusion-mediated reprogramming in tissues of higher vertebrates. Furthermore we are dissecting the molecular mechanisms and gene networks downstream of β-catenin, which are key in the process of reprogramming. Finally, by using super resolution microscopy we are also investigating on the remodelling of the chromatin fibre during the reprograming process.

Research Projects

  • Dissecting chromatin structure in stem cells and reprogrammed cells by super-resolution imaging
  • Dissecting early reprogramming events and factors through gene network analysis.
  • Studying function of Tcf factors in the control of embryonic stem cell self-renewal and somatic cell reprogramming.
  • Studying ploidy reduction of reprogrammed hybrids.
  • Studying mechanisms of cell fusion.
  • Testing cell fusion mediated reprograming as regenerative therapy for Parkinson’s disease and for retinal degeneration disease.
  • Investigating cell-fusion mediated regeneration of the liver.

Selected Publications

Marucci L, Pedone E, Di Vicino U, Isalan M, Pampaloni F, Cosma MP.
“β-catenin and Nanog fluctuate synchronously in mouse ESCs and cooperate to enhance reprogramming of somatic cells to pluripotency.”
Cell Reports, 8(6):1686-96 (2014).

Aulicino F, Theka I, Ombrato L, Lluis F, Cosma MP.
“Temporal perturbation of the Wnt signalling pathway controls cell reprogramming via Tcf1 activity.”
Stem Cell Reports, 2(5):707-20 (2014).


Patent n. 14/482,586. Priority date 10/09/2014. Method for detecting cells.