The Torino group has been working on a long-term project that focuses on CD38 and Bst1/CD157, mammalian proteins that are part of the eukaryotic ADP-ribosyl cyclase/NADase family involved in the transformation of NAD to ADP ribose and cyclic ADP ribose. Evidence accumulated through the years in our Lab has demonstrated that both CD157 and CD38 Bst1 have dual functions, behaving as ectoenzymes and signalling membrane receptors. Both types of functions are relevant to human physiology and pathology.
Ongoing projects in the lab concern:
1) an in silico multi-genome database analysis to identify new members of the ADP-ribosyl cyclase/NADase family, to estimate their taxonomic distribution and to unravel their evolutionary history;
2) charting the non-enzymatic role of CD157 as a regulator of cell migration and cell-extracellular matrix interactions in selected physiological and pathological contexts. Main areas of interest are the analysis of leukocyte trafficking in innate immune response and ovarian cancer cell dissemination.
3) analysis of a novel ectoenzyme network composed of CD38, CD203a and CD73 responsible for nucleotide-to-nucleoside conversion. Our data suggests that this extracellular network may be used by tumor cells to evade the host immune response.