Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

This is SunRain Plone Theme


You are here: Home / Staff
Research Interests

Oncogenic cell transformation is currently viewed as a multistep process with the acquisition of new cellular capabilities, such as an enhanced ability to migrate and escape apoptotic cell death. In vivo three-dimensional migration is facilitated by enzymatic cleavage of the extracellular matrix by metalloproteinases and plasminogen activators such as urokinase or uPA. High affinity binding of uPA to the surface glycosyl-phosphadidylinositol(GPI)-anchored uPAR results in signaling and leads to increased migration. Our recent work uncovered the important role of uPAR in cell survival and protection from anoikis. Of interest is the occurrence of cryptic activities of specific regions of uPA. As shown by our laboratory, the “connecting peptide” region of uPA impacts on cell migration and invasion via avb5 integrin and uPAR. We are now attempting a functional dissection of this region to, ultimately, generate novel peptides inhibiting tumour cell migration and invasion. Finally, the uPAR will be employed as a GPI-anchored model protein to investigate the effects of changes in cholesterol/sphyngolipid composition on cell survival, migration, and invasion.

Short CV

Nationality: Italian, born October 23rd, 1956 - Naples (Italy)
Current position: Research Director at IGB, Institute of Genetics and Biophysics, National Research Council, Naples, Italy, 2001- present.    
Education and training: Laurea and in Biological Sciences, Univ. Federico II, Naples (Italy), 1981.
Previous Professional Appointments:
1981: Summer student at NCI, Md, USA, with Dr. M.Singer.
1981- 1985:  Lepetit and CNR fellow at I.I.G.B, with prof. F. Blasi.
Sept.-Dec.1984: Guest Res. at Lab of Chemoprevention, NCI, Md, USA  with Dr. M. Sporn.
March-May 1985: Guest Researcher at NCI, Md, USA, with Dr. E. Appella.
1986-1987: Posdoctoral Fellow at Massachussets Institute of Technology, Dept of Applied Biol Sci. Cambridge, MA, USA, with prof. M.R. Rosner.
1988-1999:  C.N.R. Researcher (Ricercatore) and group leader at I.I.G.B, Naples.
2000-2001: C.N.R. Research Associate (Primo Ricercatore) at IGB, Naples.
2002-present: C.N.R. Research Director (Dirigente di Ricerca) at IGB, Naples.
2004-2005: Professor of Human Genetics at the Univ of Basilicata, Pz, Italy.
2003-pres: Teacher to  “Dottorato di Imaging molecolare”, Univ. Federico II, Naples.
March 2008: Opponent for a PhD Thesis at the Univ. of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Recent grants awarded:
2003-2006: European Union Framework Programme 6, Integrated Project" Extracellular Proteases and the Cancer Degradome: Innovative Diagnostic Markers, Therapeutic Targets and Tumour Imaging Agents " MP Stoppelli participated to this Project as Partner 26. (Contract n.LSHC-CT-2003-503297).
2009-2011: European Science Foundation (ESF) Eurocore Network on Membrane Architecture and Dynamics with a Project entitled :” Molecular Determinants of Sterol-Sphingolipid-Protein Interactions in Living Cells and Organisms”.
Reviewer for the following Journals:
Experimental Cell Research, Biological Chemistry, European Journal of Biochemistry, Journal of Cell Science, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Thrombosis and Haemostasis, Oncogene, FEBS letters, Gene, Neoplasia.
Organiser of the following IGB Workshops in Capri, Naples,  Italy (past 3 years):
FEBS: Epigenetic bases of genome reprogramming, October 8-11, 2005.
EMBO: "Cell migration and invasion in development and disease. Oct. 14-17, 2006.
FEBS: “Generating Neural Diversity in the Brain”, Oct 14-17, 2007.
EMBO: “The NF-kB Network in Development and disease” Oct. 18-21, 2008


Selected Publications
  • F. Chiaradonna, L. Fontana, C. Iavarone, M. V. Carriero, G. Scholz, M. V. Barone and M. P. Stoppelli Urokinase receptor-dependent and independent p56/59hck activation state is a molecular switch between myelomonocytic cell motility and adherence. EMBO J., 1999, 11, 3013-3023.
  • M. V. Carriero, S. Del Vecchio, M. Capozzoli, P. Franco, L. Fontana, A. Zannetti, G. Botti, G. D'Aiuto, M. Salvatore and M. P. Stoppelli Urokinase receptor interacts with alphavbeta5 vitronectin receptor promoting urokinase-dependent cell migration in breast cancer. Cancer Res., 1999, 59,  5307-5314.
  • Alfano D, Iaccarino I, Stoppelli MP. Urokinase signalling through its receptor protects against anoikis by increasing Bcl-xL expression levels.  J Biol Chem., 2006, 281(26): 17758-67.
  • Franco P., I. Vocca, Carriero M.V., Alfano D., Cito L., Longanesi-Cattani I., Grieco P., Ossowski L. and Stoppelli M.P. Urokinase receptor activation by a novel interaction between connecting peptide region of urokinase and alphavbeta5 integrin. J. Cell Sci., 2006, 119: 3424-3434.
  • Vocca I., Franco P., Alfano D., Votta G., Carriero M.V., Estrada Y., P.A. Netti P.A., Ossowski L. and  Stoppelli M.P  Inhibition of migration and invasion of carcinoma cells by uPA-derived antagonists of alphavbeta5 integrin activation. Int J Cancer, 2009, 124, 316-325 .


  • Anne Ridley, Professor of Cell Biology, King's College, Strand, London WC2R 2LS, UK
  • Elina Ikonen, Institute of Biomedicine, Haartmaninkatu 8, Helsinki


Keywords: cell migration, apoptosis, cancer

Maria Patrizia Stoppelli

CNR Research Director (Dirigente di ricerca)

+39 081 6132450

Staff Members:

Stefania Belli
Fellow (Borsista)

iolanda camerino
Undergraduate Student (Tesista)

Margherita D'Angelo
Undergraduate Student (Tesista)

Mariateresa Saviano
Undergraduate Student (Tesista)

Marialucia Telesca
Undergraduate Student (Tesista)