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Research Interests

2007-to present:

  • Complexity of the Otx2 gene expression control: transcriptional, post-transcriptional and translational regulation of Otx2 mRNA isoforms co-operate for the specification and maintenance of the forebrain and midbrain identity.
  • Role of Otx2 in the control of adult mdDA neuron subtype identity, modulation of Dopamine signaling and vulnerability to neurodegeneration of mdDA adult neurons.
  • Otx1 and Otx2 in initiation, progression and trasmission of desmoplastic medulloblastomas in patched (ptc) aploinsufficient mouse models lacking or over-expressing Otx1 and/or Otx2.
  • Identification of Otx1 as a selective marker of aggressive Lymphomas.
  • Role of Otx2 in Embryonic Stem Cells: generation of Otx2 mutant ESC lines and analysis of the ESC state and ESC pluripotency.
  • Role of Otx2 in ESC-derived Epiblast-like Stem Cells (ESD-EpiSC): analysis of the EpiSC state and pluripotency.
  • Role of Otx2 in ESC-based induction of telencephalic neurons.
  • Identification and functional analysis of Otx2 target genes in ESC and ESD-EpiSC.


Short CV

1988:    Ph.D in Cellular and Molecular Genetics, University of Naples.
1981:    Graduated in Biological Sciences, University of Naples.

Honours and Prizes

2009:    Prize “ Tabor ” for the studies on neurodegeneration awarded by Archidiocesan Curia and Municipality of Amalfi.

2003:    Special Prize "Il Gladiatore d’Oro" awarded by Province of Benevento.

2000:    The Liliane BETTENCOURT Life Sciences Award.               

1998:    Italian Society of Biophysic and Molecular Biology (SIBBM) Prize in memory

             of "Dr. M. Chiara D'Onofrio".

1988:    ARFACID prize  in memory of "Prof. Eduardo Scarano".

1986:    Italian Association of Medical Genetics (AIGM) Prize.


2014              IGB Director

2013 - 2014   Acting IGB Director

2006 -           CNR "Dirigente di Ricerca" at the Institute of Genetics and Biophysics “ABT”, CNR, Naples.

2004 -           Professor at the Scuola Superiore Europea di Medicina Molecolare (SEMM)

2005 - 2012  Group leader at the CEINGE Biotecnologie Avanzate, Naples

2000 - 2006  Group leader at the MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology.

2000 - 2005  Full Professor of Developmental Genetics at the King's College London.

1997 - 2006  CNR "Primo Ricercatore" at the Institute of Genetics and Biophysics “ABT”, CNR, Naples.

1992 - 2004  Group leader at the Institute of Genetics and Biophysics “ABT”, CNR, Naples.

1988 - 1997  CNR "Ricercatore" at the Institute of Genetics and Biophysics “ABT”, CNR, Naples.

Editorial activities

Member of the editorial board of Human Reproduction, Molecular Reproduction and Development, Genes and Function, and International Journal of Developmental Biology and Development. Reviewer for Nature Neuroscience, Nature Genetics, Developmental Cell, Genes and Development, Neuron, Developmental Biology, Mechanisms of Development, The Journal of Neuroscience.


Professional body membership

  • Scientific Advisory Board of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry (Gottingen)
  • European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)
  • European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE)
  • Italian Association of Genetics (AGI)
  • Italian Society of Biophysic and Molecular Biology (SIBBM)
  • Fellowships committee of Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSP)
  • Armenise-Harvard Italian Scholarship Advisory Committee (ISAC)
  • Member of the Scientific Committee of the Foundation Cariplo

Grant support (since 2000)

2000-2005 Medical Research Council Programme Grant

2001-2006 Wellcome Trust Programme Grant

2001-2004 MURST-CNR Biotechnology Programme Grant

2002-2004 European Community Biotechnology Grant

2003-2005 FIRB Neuroscience

2003-2005 FIRB Genotopo

2005-2007 AIRC

2007-2010 Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Roma

2007-2011 VI Framework Programme (EU)

2009-2011 VII Framework Programme (EU)

2008-2012 AIRC

2013-2016 Istituto Neurologico Mediterraneo (NEUROMED), Pozzilli (IS)



Selected Publications
  • L. G. Di Giovannantonio, M. Di Salvio, D. Acampora, N. Prakash, W. Wurst & A. Simeone. Otx2 selectively controls the neurogenesis of specific neuronal subtypes of the ventral tegmental area and compensates En1-dependent neuronal loss and MPTP vulnerability. Dev. Biol. 373, 176-183(2013)
  • D. Acampora, L. G. Digiovannantonio & A. Simeone. Otx2 is an intrinsic determinant of the Embryonic Stem Cell state and is required for transition to a stable Epiblast Stem Cell condition Development. 140, 43-55 (2013)
  • A. Simeone, E. Puelles, D. Omodei, D. Acampora, L. G. Di Giovannantonio, M. Di Salvio, P. Mancuso & C. Tomasetti. Otx genes in neurogenesis of mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons. Dev. Neurobiol. 71, 665-679 (2011)
  • M. Di Salvio, L.G. Di Giovannantonio, D. Acampora, R. Prosperi, D. Omodei, N. Prakash, W. Wurst & A. Simeone.  Otx2 controls neuron subtype identity in ventral tegmental area and antagonizes vulnerability to MPTP.  Nature Neurosci. 13, 1481-1488 (2010)
  • F. García-Moreno, M. Pedraza, L.G. Di Giovannantonio, M. Di Salvio, L. López-Mascaraque, A. Simeone & J.A. De Carlos. A neuronal migratory pathway crossing from diencephalon to telencephalon populates amygdala nuclei. Nature Neurosci.13, 680-689 (2010)
  • N. Prakash*, E. Puelles, K. Freude, D. Trümbach, D. Omodei, M. Di Salvio, L. Sussel, J. Ericson, M. Sander, A. Simeone* & W. Wurst*. Nkx6-1 controls the identity and fate of red nucleus and oculomotor neurons in the mouse midbrain. Development 136, 2545-2555 (2009)
  • D. Acampora, L.G. Di Giovannantonio, M. Di Salvio, P. Mancuso & A. Simeone. Selective inactivation of Otx2 mRNA isoforms reveals isoform-specific requirement for visceral endoderm anteriorization and head morphogenesis and highlights cell diversity in the visceral endoderm. Mech. Dev. 126, 882-897 (2009)
  • D. Omodei, D. Acampora, F. Russo, R. De Filippi, V. Severino, R. Di Francia, F. Frigeri, P. Mancuso, A. De Chiara, A. Pinto*, S. Casola* & A. Simeone*. Expression of the brain transcription factor OTX1 occurs in a subset of normal germinal-center B cells and in aggressive Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Am. J. Pathol. 175, 2609-2617 (2009)
  • D. Omodei, D. Acampora, P. Mancuso, N. Prakash, L.G. Di Giovannantonio, W. Wurst* & A.Simeone*. Anterior-posterior graded response to Otx2 controls proliferation and differentiation of dopaminergic progenitors in the ventral mesencephalon. Development 135, 3459-3470 (2008)
  • P.P. Tripathi, L.G. Di Giovannantonio, A. Viegi, W. Wurst, A. Simeone* & Y. Bozzi*.  Serotonin Hyperinnervation Abolishes Seizure Susceptibility in Otx2 Conditional Mutant Mice. The Journal of Neuroscience 28, 9271-9276 (2008)
  • S. Ryu, J. Mahler, D. Acampora, J. Holzschuh, S. Erhardt, D. Omodei, A. Simeone* & W. Driever*. Orthopedia homeodomain protein is essential for diencephalic dopaminergic neuron development. Current Biology 17, 873-80 (2007)  
  • E. Puelles, D. Acampora, R. Gogoi, F. Tuorto, A. Papalia, F. Guillemot, S.L. Ang & A. Simeone. Otx2 controls identity and fate of glutamatergic progenitors of the thalamus by repressing GABAergic differentiation. The Journal of Neuroscience 26, 5955-64 (2006)
  • N. Prakash, C. Brodski, T. Naserke, E. Puelles, R. Gogoi, A. Hall, M. Panhuysen, D. Echevarria, L. Sussel, D.M. Weisenhorn, S. Martinez, E. Arenas, A. Simeone* & W. Wurst*. A Wnt1-regulated genetic network controls the identity and fate of midbrain-dopaminergic progenitors in vivo. Development. 133, 89-98 (2006)
  • A. Simeone. The genetic control of dopaminergic differentiation. Trends Neurosci. 28, 62-65 (2005)
  • E. Puelles, A. Annino, F. Tuorto, A. Usiello, D. Acampora, T. Czerny, S. L. Ang, W. Wurst* & A. Simeone*. Otx2 regulates the extent, identity and fate of neuronal progenitor domains in the ventral midbrain.  Development 131, 2037-2048 (2004)
  • E. Puelles, D. Acampora, E. Lacroix, M. Signore, A. Annino, F. Tuorto, S. Filosa, G. Corte, W. Wurst, S.L. Ang & A. Simeone. Otx dose-dependent integrated control of antero-posterior and dorso-ventral patterning of midbrain. Nature Neuroscience 6, 453-460 (2003)

* Co-corresponding authors


Prof. Wolfgang Wurst
Helmholtz Zentrum München
Institute of Developmental Genetics
Ingolstaedter Landstr. 1
85764 Neuherberg

Dr. M.P. Smidt
Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology
Universiteitsweg 100
3584CG, Utrecht
The Netherlands

Prof. Alain Prochiantz

CNRS UMR 8542 Chaire des Processus Morphogénétiques
Collège de France
11, Place Marcelin Berthelot
75231 Paris Cedex 05

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Driever

Developmental Biology Unit
Department of Biology I
University of Freiburg
Hauptstrasse 1
D-79104 Freiburg


Keywords: Developmental Neurobiology, Otx, Otp

Antonio Simeone

CNR Research Director - IGB Director

+39 081 6132 242/401

Staff Members:

Dario Acampora
CNR Researcher (Primo Ricercatore)

Luca Di Giovannantonio
CNR Technologist (Tecnologo)

Vincenzo Guida
Fellow (Borsista)

Enza Lonardo
Fellow (Borsista)

Vincenzo Mercadante
Technician (Operatore tecnico)

Daniela Omodei

Massimo Signore
Research Officer (Collaboratore Tecnico)