Maria Inmaculada Ayala Grande

Napoli – Area di Ricerca NA1
+39 06 90091538 (office)
Orcid ID

Keywords: Golgi complex, mitosis, cell cyclel

During my PhD (1996-2000), I started working in membrane trafficking, investigating the transport of membrane and soluble proteins from the endoplasmic reticulum to the plasma membrane in cells transformed with an inducible oncogene and cells with different degree of invasiveness. In 2000, I did a first post-doctorate at the University of California (San Diego) studying the role of Protein Kinase D1 and 2 in the regulation of the post-Golgi trafficking.

In 2003, I did a second post-doctorate at the Department of Cell Biology and Oncology of the Consorzio Mario Negri (S. Maria Imbaro), investigating the structure and regulation of the invadopodia, which are specialized plasma membrane protrusions formed by invasive cells and involved in the degradation of the extracellular matrix.

In 2009, I joined the Institute of Cell Biology and Biochemistry, initially working to a project focused on a family of multifunctional proteins, the C-terminal-binding proteins (CtBPs), which act both at the nuclear level, modulating the expression of anti-apoptotic and differentiating genes, and in the cytosol, controlling aspects of membrane trafficking and cell mitotic progression. Since 2014, I have started the investigation of a novel cell cycle regulatory mechanism that is regulated by the pre-mitotic disassembly of the Golgi complex. In particular, I am focusing on the molecular mechanisms and regulation of GRASP65, a protein essential for the maintenance of Golgi structure.


  • 2000               Ph. D. in Biological Sciences, “Cum Laude”. University of Barcelona, Spain.
  • 1995               Master Degree in Biological Sciences. University of Barcelona, Spain.


  • Jul 2011 to date       Researcher, IBP, CNR, Naples, Italy.
  • 2009- 2011              Postdoctoral fellow, TIGEM, Naples, Italy.
  • 2003- 2009              Postdoctoral fellow. Department of Cell Biology and Oncology, Mario Negri Sud, Italy.
  • 2000-2003               Post-doctoral fellow. Department of Biology, University of California, San Diego.
  • Apr/May 1999          Department of Biology, University of California, San Diego.
  • May/Aug 1998         Department of Cell Biology and Oncology, Mario Negri Sud, Italy.
  • Aug/Sep 1997          Department of Pathology, University of Oulu, Finland.
  • 1996-2000               Department of Cellular Biology, University of Barcelona, Spain

Ayala I, Crispino R, Colanzi A. GRASP65 controls Golgi position and structure during G2/M transition by regulating the stability of microtubules. Traffic. 2019 Oct;20(10):785-802. doi: 10.1111/tra.12682.

PMID: 31336000

Ayala I, Giacchetti G, Caldieri G, Attanasio F, Mariggio S, Tete S, Polishchuk R, Castronovo V, Buccione R (2009) “Faciogenital dysplasia protein Fgd1 regulates invadopodia biogenesis and extracellular matrix degradation and is upregulated in prostate and breast cancer“ Cancer Research 69(3): 747-752
PMID: 19141649

Ayala I, Baldassarre M, Giacchetti G, Caldieri G, Luini A,Buccione R (2008);“Multiple regulatory inputs converge on cortactin to control invadopodia biogenesis and extracellular matrix degradation”. J. Cell Sci. 121(3): 369-378
PMID: 18198194

Yeaman CA*, Ayala MI*, Wright JR, Bard F, Bossard C, Ang A, Maeda Y, Seufferlein T, Mellman I, Nelson WJ, Malhotra V (2004) “Protein Kinase D regulates basolateral membrane protein exit from trans-Golgi Network” Nat. Cell Biol. 6(2): 106-112.
PMID: 14743217   *Equal contribution

Ayala I, Babià T, Baldassarre M, Pompeo A, Fabra A, Kok JW, Luini A, Buccione R, Egea G (1999) “Morphological and biochemical analysis of the secretory pathway in melanoma cells with distinct metastatic potential” FEBS Let. 451, 315-320


Full publications list : Publons

2018-2022      Italian Foundation for Cancer Research (AIRC) IG grant  “Development of a GRASP65/Aurora-A signalling network as a therapeutic target for cancer.

2018-2020:     POR Campania, “Sviluppo di Approcci Terapeutici Innovativi per patologie Neoplastiche resistenti ai trattamenti – SATIN”

2013-2015      POR Campania “Oncology and Cardiology Key Targets” (OCKEY)

2012-2015      PON Ricerca e Innovazione “Antigens and adjuvants for vaccines and immunotherapy”.