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Research Interests

Since January 2008 Gian Carlo Bellenchi is a CNR researcher at the Institute of Genetics and Biophysics "Adriano Buzzati Traverso".
His studies belong to the general problem of how neurons acquire their specificity and cellular diversity as well as the relationship between genes misfunction and neurodegenerative diseases.
Research activity is focused on two main areas:
a) To dissect the inductive mechanisms and the key genes involved in midbrain dopaminergic neuron formation and differentiation.
b) To characterize genes which mutations underline the heterogeneous group of progressive neurodegenerative disease called Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinoses (NCLs). 


Short CV
  • 1995    Laurea in Scienze Biologiche, Università di Roma “La Sapienza”
  • 1996 - 1999:    PhD Degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Study of Catania. (Italy)
  • 1999 - 2003:     Post-Doctoral Fellow from the European Community TMR Network in the laboratory directed bt JP Henry. UPR1929 CNRS (Paris – France)
  • 2003:    European Reintegration Grant n. 506860, at the University of Rome “Tor Vergata” in the laboratori directed by Prof. Claudia Bagni. (Rome – Italy) Declined.
  • 2003 - 2005:    Post-Doctoral fellow from the Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS) at the EMBL Mouse Biology Unit in the laboratory directed by Walter Witke. (Monterotondo – Italy)
  • 2006 - 2007:    Post-Doctoral fellow from Fondo investimento ricerca di base (FIRB) at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS) in the laboratory directed by Luisa Minghetti. (Rome – Italy)
  • since 2008:    CNR researcher at the IGB-ABT in the laboratory of Developmental Neuroscience 


Selected Publications
  •  Bellenchi GC, Volpicelli F, Piscopo V, Perrone-Capano C, di Porzio U (2013) Adult neural stem cells: an endogenous tool to repair brain injury? J Neurochem 124: 159-167
  • Volpicelli F, De Gregorio R, Pulcrano S, Perrone-Capano C, di Porzio U, Bellenchi GC. Direct regulation of Pitx3 expression by Nurr1 in culture and in developing mouse midbrain. PLoS One. 2012. e30661. Epub 2012 Feb 17.
  • Ruivo R, Bellenchi GC, Chen X, Zifarelli G, Sagné C, Debacker C, Pusch M,Supplisson S, Gasnier B. Mechanism of proton/substrate coupling in the heptahelical lysosomal transporter cystinosin. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Jan 9.
  • Caiazzo M, Colucci-D'Amato L, Volpicelli F, Speranza L, Petrone C, Pastore L, Stifani S, Ramirez F, Bellenchi GC, di Porzio U: Kruppel-like factor 7 is required for olfactory bulb dopaminergic neuron development. Exp Cell Res 2011, 317(4):464-473.
  • Sharifi A, Kousi M, Sagne C, Bellenchi GC, Morel L, Darmon M, Hulkova H, Ruivo R, Debacker C, El Mestikawy S et al: Expression and lysosomal targeting of CLN7, a major facilitator superfamily transporter associated with variant late-infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis. Hum Mol Genet 2010, 19(22):4497-4514.
  • Bellenchi GC, Gurniak CB, Perlas E, Middei S, Ammassari-Teule M, Witke W: N-cofilin is associated with neuronal migration disorders and cell cycle control in the cerebral cortex. Genes Dev 2007, 21(18):2347-2357.
  • Aubrey KR, Rossi FM, Ruivo R, Alboni S, Bellenchi GC, Le Goff A, Gasnier B, Supplisson S: The transporters GlyT2 and VIAAT cooperate to determine the vesicular glycinergic phenotype. J Neurosci 2007, 27(23):6273-6281.
  • Visentin S, Nuccio CD, Bellenchi GC: Different patterns of Ca(2+) signals are induced by low compared to high concentrations of P2Y agonists in microglia. Purinergic Signal 2006, 2(4):605-617.
  • Gras C, Herzog E, Bellenchi GC, Bernard V, Ravassard P, Pohl M, Gasnier B, Giros B, El Mestikawy S: A third vesicular glutamate transporter expressed by cholinergic and serotoninergic neurons. J Neurosci 2002, 22(13):5442-5451.
  • Bellenchi GC, Herzog E, Gras C, Bernard V, Ravassard P, Bedet C, Gasnier B, Giros B, El Mestikawy S: The existence of a second vesicular glutamate transporter specifies subpopulations of glutamatergic neurons. J Neurosci 2001, 21(22):RC181.
  • ·      

  • Dr. Bruno Gasnier. Research Director IBPC (Institut de Biologie Physico- Chimique) UPR1929 CNRS Paris France :
  • Dr. Stephanne Supplisson. Research Director ENS (Ecole Normale Superiore) Paris France:
  • Prof. Dr. Walter Witke. Director of the Institute of Genetics at the University of Bonn, Germany:
  • Dr. Meng Li, Imperial College London, UK:


Keywords: Dopaminergic transcription factors, neurodegeneration, lysosomal diseases

Gian Carlo Bellenchi

CNR Researcher (Ricercatore)

+39 081 6132362

Staff Members:

Massimiliano Caiazzo

Carla Perrone Capano
CNR Honorary Appointment (Associato CNR)

Salvatore Pulcrano
Fellow (Borsista)

Floriana Volpicelli
Administrative Officer (Collaboratore di Amministrazione)