Academic Appointments

Honors & Awards

  • SIICA Best Abstract 2011, Joint annual SIICA meeting, Riccione (Italy), Italian Society of Immunology (SIICA) (Sept 28th - Oct 1st 2011)


All Publications

  • Modulation of FceRI-Dependent Mast Cell Response by OX40L. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) Sibilano, R., Pucillo, C., Frossi, B. 2014; 1155: 23-30


    OX40L is expressed by many cell types, including antigen presenting cells (APCs), T cells, vascular endothelial cells, mast cells (MCs), and natural killer cells. The importance of OX40L:OX40 interactions and the OX40L signaling is crucial for the homeostasis and for the modulation of the effector functions of the immune system. However, the lack of non-murine/non-IgG commercially available OX40L-triggering antibodies and the potential signal cross-contamination caused by the binding to the FcγRs co-expressed by several immune cells have limited the study of the OX40L-signaling cascade. We recently characterized the functions and described the molecular events, which follow the engagement of OX40L in MCs, by the use of the soluble OX40 molecule, able to mimic the regulatory T cell-driven engagement of MC-OX40L. This molecule enables signaling studies in MCs with any requirement for OX40-expressing cells. Using this unique reagent, we determined the modality and the extent by which the engagement of OX40L in MCs influences the IgE-dependent MC degranulation. This tool may find a potential application for signaling studies of other OX40L-expressing populations other than MCs, mainly APCs, with similar approaches we reported for the study of OX40L cascade.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/978-1-4939-0669-7_3

    View details for PubMedID 24788170

  • Modulation of Fc epsilon RI-dependent mast cell response by OX40L via Fyn, PI3K, and RhoA JOURNAL OF ALLERGY AND CLINICAL IMMUNOLOGY Sibilano, R., Frossi, B., Suzuki, R., D'Inca, F., Gri, G., Piconese, S., Colombo, M. P., Rivera, J., Pucillo, C. E. 2012; 130 (3): 751-?


    The interaction of mast cells (MCs) with regulatory T cells through the OX40 ligand (OX40L):OX40 axis downregulates Fc?RI-dependent immediate hypersensitivity responses both in vitro and in vivo. Little is known on OX40L-mediated intracellular signaling or on the mechanism by which OX40L engagement suppresses MC degranulation.We explored the role of OX40L engagement on IgE/antigen-triggered MCs both in vitro and in vivo.The soluble form of OX40 molecule was used to selectively trigger OX40L on MCs in vitro and was used to dissect OX40L contribution in an in vivo model of systemic anaphylaxis.OX40L:OX40 interaction led to the recruitment of C-terminal src kinase into lipid rafts, causing a preferential suppression of Fyn kinase activity and subsequent reduction in the phosphorylation of Gab2, the phosphatidylinositol 3-OH kinase regulatory subunit p85, and Akt, without affecting the Lyn pathway. Dampening of Fyn kinase activity also inhibited RhoA activation and microtubule nucleation, key regulators of MC degranulation. The in vivo administration of a blocking antibody to OX40L in wild-type mice caused enhanced immediate hypersensitivity, whereas the administration of soluble OX40 to regulatory T-cell-depleted or OX40-deficient mice reduced MC degranulation.The engagement of OX40L selectively suppresses Fyn-initiated signals required for MC degranulation and serves to limit immediate hypersensitivity. Our data suggest that soluble OX40 can restore the aberrant or absent regulatory T-cell activity, revealing a previously unappreciated homeostatic role for OX40L in setting the basal threshold of MC response.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jaci.2012.03.032

    View details for Web of Science ID 000308463500026

    View details for PubMedID 22564682

  • The Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Modulates Acute and Late Mast Cell Responses JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY Sibilano, R., Frossi, B., Calvaruso, M., Danelli, L., Betto, E., Dall'agnese, A., Tripodo, C., Colombo, M. P., Pucillo, C. E., Gri, G. 2012; 189 (1): 120-127


    The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a ligand-dependent transcription factor whose activity is modulated by xenobiotics as well as physiological ligands. These compounds may modulate inflammatory responses and contribute to the rising prevalence of allergic diseases observed in industrialized countries. Mast cells (MCs), located within tissues at the boundary of the external environment, represent a potential target of AhR ligands. In this study, we report that murine and human MCs constitutively express AhR, and its activation by the high-affinity ligand 6-formylindolo[3,2-b]carbazole (FICZ) determines a boost in degranulation. On the contrary, repeated exposure to FICZ inhibits MC degranulation. Accordingly, histamine release, in an in vivo passive systemic anaphylactic model, is exacerbated by a single dose and is attenuated by repetitive stimulation of AhR. FICZ-exposed MCs produce reactive oxygen species and IL-6 in response to cAMP-dependent signals. Moreover, AhR-activated MCs produce IL-17, a critical player in chronic inflammation and autoimmunity, suggesting a novel pathway for MC activation in the pathogenesis of these diseases. Indeed, histological analysis of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease revealed an enrichment in AhR/IL-6 and AhR/IL-17 double-positive MCs within bronchial lamina propria. Thus, tissue-resident MCs could translate external chemical challenges through AhR by modulating allergic responses and contributing to the generation of inflammation-related diseases.

    View details for DOI 10.4049/jimmunol.1200009

    View details for Web of Science ID 000305636000015

    View details for PubMedID 22649193

  • Mast cell: an emerging partner in immune interaction. Frontiers in immunology Gri, G., Frossi, B., D'Inca, F., Danelli, L., Betto, E., Mion, F., Sibilano, R., Pucillo, C. 2012; 3: 120-?


    Mast cells (MCs) are currently recognized as effector cells in many settings of the immune response, including host defense, immune regulation, allergy, chronic inflammation, and autoimmune diseases. MC pleiotropic functions reflect their ability to secrete a wide spectrum of preformed or newly synthesized biologically active products with pro-inflammatory, anti-inflammatory and/or immunosuppressive properties, in response to multiple signals. Moreover, the modulation of MC effector phenotypes relies on the interaction of a wide variety of membrane molecules involved in cell-cell or cell-extracellular-matrix interaction. The delivery of co-stimulatory signals allows MC to specifically communicate with immune cells belonging to both innate and acquired immunity, as well as with non-immune tissue-specific cell types. This article reviews and discusses the evidence that MC membrane-expressed molecules play a central role in regulating MC priming and activation and in the modulation of innate and adaptive immune response not only against host injury, but also in peripheral tolerance and tumor-surveillance or -escape. The complex expression of MC surface molecules may be regarded as a measure of connectivity, with altered patterns of cell-cell interaction representing functionally distinct MC states. We will focalize our attention on roles and functions of recently discovered molecules involved in the cross-talk of MCs with other immune partners.

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fimmu.2012.00120

    View details for PubMedID 22654879

  • Technical Advance: Soluble OX40 molecule mimics regulatory T cell modulatory activity on Fc epsilon RI-dependent mast cell degranulation JOURNAL OF LEUKOCYTE BIOLOGY Sibilano, R., Gri, G., Frossi, B., Tripodo, C., Suzuki, R., Rivera, J., MacDonald, A. S., Pucillo, C. E. 2011; 90 (4): 831-838


    Tregs play a central role in modulating Fc?RI-dependent MC effector functions in the course of the allergic response. Cellular interaction depends on the constitutive expression of OX40 on Tregs and the OX40L counterpart on MCs. Study of OX40L signaling on MCs is hampered by the need of a highly purified molecule, which triggers OX40L specifically. We now report that sOX40 mimics the physiological activity of Treg interaction by binding to activated MCs. When treated with sOX40, activated MCs showed decreased degranulation and Ca(++) influx, whereas PLC-?2 phosphorylation remained unaffected. Once injected into experimental animals, sOX40 not only located within the endothelium but also in parenchyma, where it could be found in close proximity and apparently bound to MCs. This soluble molecule triggers MC-OX40L without the requirement of Tregs, thus allowing study of OX40L signaling pathways in MCs and in other OX40L-expressing cell populations. Importantly, as sOX40 inhibits MC degranulation, it may provide an in vivo therapeutic tool in allergic disease.

    View details for DOI 10.1189/jlb.1210651

    View details for Web of Science ID 000295372100023

    View details for PubMedID 21653238

  • Single-cell dynamics of mast cell-CD4(+)CD25(+) regulatory T cell interactions EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY Frossi, B., D'Inca, F., Crivellato, E., Sibilano, R., Gri, G., Mongillo, M., Danelli, L., Maggi, L., Pucillo, C. E. 2011; 41 (7): 1872-1882


    The biological behavior of immune cells is determined by their intrinsic properties and interactions with other cell populations within their microenvironment. Several studies have confirmed the existence of tight spatial interactions between mast cells (MCs) and Tregs in different settings. For instance, we have recently identified the functional cross-talk between MCs and Tregs, through the OX40L-OX40 axis, as a new mechanism of reciprocal influence. However, there is scant information regarding the single-cell dynamics of this process. In this study, time-lapse video microscopy revealed direct interactions between Tregs and MCs in both murine and human cell co-cultures, resulting in the inhibition of the MC degranulation response. MCs incubated with WT, but not OX40-deficient, Tregs mediated numerous and long-lasting interactions and displayed different morphological features lacking the classical signs of exocytosis. MC degranulation and Ca2+ mobilization upon activation were inhibited by Tregs on a single-cell basis, without affecting overall cytokine secretion. Transmission electron microscopy showed ultrastructural evidence of vesicle-mediated secretion reconcilable with the morphological pattern of piecemeal degranulation. Our results suggest that MC morphological and functional changes following MC-Treg interactions can be ascribed to cell-cell contact and represent a transversal, non-species-specific mechanism of immune response regulation. Further research, looking at the molecular composition of this interaction will broaden our understanding of its contribution to immunity.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/eji.201041300

    View details for Web of Science ID 000293131200008

    View details for PubMedID 21509780