Group Leader : Alberto Luini
Topics : Advanced Morphology, Biochemistry, Cell and molecular biology, Pharmacology


Main theme

We are interested in the morpho-functional organization and the regulation of the intracellular membrane transport apparatus. The emphasis is on developing strategies, cellular models and technology (including imaging and systems biology approaches) for the analysis of whole live cellular systems, as distinct from reductionist strategies.

Specific themes

Organizational principles of cargo transport across membrane compartments in living cells.
Control and coordination systems of the biosynthetic pathway
Development of imaging technology for cell biology.
Diseases related to membrane transport and pharmacological approaches.


Imaging: confocal, superresolution, FRET-FLIM microscopy; electron and immuno-electron microscopy and tomography; high-throughput microscopy for screening. Standard protein and lipid biochemistry. proteomics, phosphoproteomics and transcriptomics. bioinformatics.

Main contributions with related publications

Evidence for a general transport principle called compartment maturation-progression.

  • Bonfanti L, Mironov AA Jr, Martella O, Fusella A, Baldassarre M, Buccione R, Mironov AA, Luini A. Procollagen traverses the Golgi stack without leaving the lumen of cisternae: evidence for cisternal maturation. Cell (1998) 95:993-1003
  • Rizzo R., Seetharaman Parashuraman, Puri C., Lucocq J. and Luini A. The dynamics of engineered resident proteins in the mammalian Golgi complex relies on cisternal maturation. J. Cell Biol. (2013) 201: 1027-36
  • Beznoussenko GV, Parashuraman S, Polishchuk R, Martella O, Di Giandomenico D, Fusella A, Spaar A, Sallese M, Capestrano M, Pavelka M, Mironov AA, Luini A. Secretion of soluble proteins by diffusion via inter-cisternal continuities: a novel intra-Golgi transport mechanism eLife (in press)

Evidence for large pleiomorphic transport vesicles and analysis of the underlying molecular mechanisms.

  • Polishchuk RS, Polishchuk E, Marra P, Alberti S, Buccione R, Luini A*, Mironov A. Correlative light-electron microscopy reveals the tubular-saccular ultrastructure of carriers operating between Golgi apparatus and plasma membrane. J Cell Biol (2000) 148:45-58 *corresponding Author

  • Mironov AA, Mironov AA Jr, Beznoussenko GV, Trucco A, Lupetti P, Smith JD, Geerts WJC, Koster AJ, Burger KNJ, Martone ME, Deerinck TJ, Ellisman MH, Luini A. Mechanism of ER-to-Golgi transport: ER-to-Golgi carriers arise through direct en bloc protrusion and multi-stage maturation of specialized ER exit domains. Dev. Cell (2003) 5:583-594

  • Weigert R, Silletta MG,  Spanò S,  Turacchio G , Cericola C, Colanzi A, Mancini R, Polishchuk EV, Salmona M, Facchiano F, Burger KNJ,  Mironov A, Luini A.*, Corda D*. CtBP/Bars induces fission of Golgi membranes by acylating lysophosphatidic acid. Nature (1999) 402:429-433
    *corresponding Author

  • Bonazzi M, Spano S, Turacchio G, Cericola C, Valente C, Colanzi A, Kweon HS, Hsu VW, Polishchuck EV, Polishchuck RS, Sallese M, Pulvirenti T, Corda D, Luini CtBP3/BARS drives membrane fission in dynamin-independent transport pathways. Nat Cell Biol (2005) 7:570-580 

  • Valente C, Turacchio G, Mariggiò S, Pagliuso A, Gaibisso R, Di Tullio G, Santoro M, Formiggini F, Spanò S, Piccini D, Polishchuk RS, Colanzi A, Luini A, Corda D. A 14-3-3γ dimer-based scaffold bridges CtBP1-S/BARS to PI(4)KIIIβ to regulate post-Golgi carrier formation. Nat Cell Biol. 2012 Feb 26;14(4):343-54. 

  • Alessandro Pagliuso, Carmen Valente, Lucia Laura Giordano1, Guiling Li1, Diego Circolo1,Gabriele Turacchio1, Fabio Formiggini2, Roman S. Polishchuk3 Daniela Corda1,§ and Alberto Luini1.Fission of post-Golgi carriers requires theBARS-induced activation of lysophosphatidic acid acyltransferase δ. Under revision (eLife).

Evidence for receptor regulation of ‘constitutive’ secretory transport and for control systems of the transport pathways

  • De Matteis MA, Santini G, Kahn RA, Di Tullio G, Luini A. Receptor and protein kinase C-mediated regulation of ARF binding to the Golgi complex. Nature (1993) 364:818-21 

  • Pulvirenti T, Giannotta M, Capestrano M, Capitani M, Pisanu A, Polishchuk RS, San Pietro E, Beznoussenko GV, Mironov AA, Turacchio G, Hsu VW, Sallese M, Luini A. A traffic-activated Golgi-based signalling circuit coordinates the secretory pathwayNat Cell Biol (2008) 10: 912-922

  • Jorge Cancino1,2,*, Anita Capalbo1,2, Antonella Di Campli1, Monica Giannotta3,6, Riccardo Rizzo1,2, Juan E. Jung1,4, Rosaria di Martino1,2, Maria Persico1,4 Petra Heinklein5, Michele Sallese3 and Alberto Luini1, 2,*. Control systems of membrane transport at the interface between the endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi. Dev. Cell (2014), in press

Development of correlative video-electron microscopy for cell biology

  • Polishchuk RS, Polishchuk E, Marra P, Alberti S, Buccione R, Luini A*, Mironov A. Correlative light-electron microscopy reveals the tubular-saccular ultrastructure of carriers operating between Golgi apparatus and plasma membrane. J Cell Biol (2000) 148:45-58 *corresponding Author
  • Correlative Light serial Immuno-FRET (CLIF) microscopy localizes multi-protein complexes in single cells Marzullo V, Cancino J, Pardo E, D’Auria S and Luini A. In preparation

Studies of the mechanism of action of correctors of genetic conformational diseases

  • De Matteis MA, Luini A. Mendelian disorders of membrane trafficking. New Eng J Med (2011) 365: 927-38.Ramanath Narayana Hegde*§1,2, Seetharaman Parashuraman*#1,2, Francesco Iorio2,7, Fabrizio Capuani2,8, Fabiana Ciciriello2,3,4, Annamaria Carissimo2, Diego Carrella2, Vincenzo Belcastro2, Advait Subramanian1, Laura Bounti1,9, Maria Persico2, Graeme Carlile3, Luis Galietta5, David.Y.Thomas3, Diego Di Bernardo2,6, and Alberto Luini#1,2. Gene signatures of proteostasis regulators reveal drugable signalling networks acting selectively on ΔF508-CFTR . Under revision (Cell).

Research Group



Group Leader : Alberto Luini

Address: Via P. Castellino 111, 80131 Napoli
Email :
Phone: +39 0816132535

: Riccardo Rizzo

Domenica Russo
Vidya Kunnatully vidyasatheesh.kunnatully@ibbc.cnr.itRosaria Di Martino
Pratiush Roy