Dana Branzei

Istituto di Genetica Molecolare “Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza” – Sede di Bologna
Via Abbiategrasso, 207

27100 Pavia
Phone: +39

E-mail: dana.branzei@igm.cnr.it

Curriculum Vitae – Download

Publications – Download


Research activity

The long-term goal of the lab is to identify the origins of mutagenesis and chromosome structure instability generated in eukaryotic cells facing replication stress. Problems during DNA replication, such as lesions presented on single stranded DNA, need to be first handled via DNA damage tolerance (DDT) mechanisms, before canonical DNA repair mechanisms can act. One axis of research in the lab relates to understanding the mechanisms that locally and temporally facilitate error-free recombination over mutagenic modes of bypass, and how replisome factors may aid replication fork stabilization and restart.

Genome replication is coupled with its spatial organization and compaction in the nuclear space. A key role of organizing DNA into higher-ordered structures is carried out by Structural Maintenance of Chromosome (SMC) complexes, cohesin, condensin and SMC5/6. In the lab, another axis of research is focused on unraveling cohesin and SMC5/6 roles in these processes. Specifically, we are interested in understanding how different cohesin regulators and replisome components (ESCO1/2, DDX11) affect cohesion and replication-associated functions of cohesin. We are also modeling ESCO2 and DDX11 dysfunctions in zebrafish to study the nature of the developmental defects arising when these genes are mutated in humans. We have a strong interest in understanding SMC5/6 molecular functions in chromatin architecture, and if they are linked to its roles in DNA repair of replication lesions and double strand breaks.

Many of the events critical for chromosome replication, repair and chromosome establishment are regulated by the canonical DNA damage response (DDR), mediated by replication and DNA damage checkpoints and SUMOylation events. SUMOylated targets can be further engaged by SUMO chains and targeted to proteasome-mediated degradation by specialized ubiquitin ligases, unless these are cleaved by dedicated SUMO proteases. In the lab, we are investigating SUMO and SUMO-chain signaling cascades to understand how SUMO-mediated events direct replication efficiency, repair outcome and chromosome structure.


Research team

Staff scientist Barnabas Szakal
Lab Technician Sabrina Dusi
Postdoc fellows Ivan Psakhye

Anja Waizzenegger

Valeria Mastrodonato

Matteo Villa

Aki Nunomiya

PhD students: Ryotaro Kawasumi

Sumedha Agashe

Chinnu Rose Joseph

Nanda Kumar Jegadesan

Valeria Dolce

Teresa Anne Clarisse Reyes

Former lab members Demis Menolfi (Master student, PhD student, postdoc)

Marco Fumasoni (Master student, PhD student, postdoc)

Francesco Rossi (PhD student, postdoc)

Federica Castellucci (PhD student, postdoc)

Saho Era (PhD student)

Takuya Abe (postdoc)

Madhusoodanan Urulangodi (postdoc)

Victor Gonzalez-Huici (postdoc)

Marek Sebesta (postdoc)

Fabio Vanoli (postdoc)

Julie Sollier (postdoc)

Eerappa Rajakumara (postdoc)

Livia Provitera (postdoc)

Teresa Anne Clarisse Reyes (Master student)

Alexandra Mayer (postdoc)

Beatrice Toia (Master student)

Recent Pubblications


Humphreys IR; Pei J; Baek M; Krishnakumar A; Anishchenko I; Ovchinnikov S; Zhang J; Ness TJ; Banjade S; Bagde SR; Stancheva VG; Li XH; Liu K; Zheng Z; Barrero DJ; Roy U; Kuper J; Fernández IS; Szakal B; Branzei D; Rizo J; Kisker C; Greene EC; Biggins S; Keeney S; Miller EA; Fromme JC; Hendrickson TL; Cong Q; Baker D

Computed structures of core eukaryotic protein complexes. Journal Article

In: Science, 374 (6573), 2021.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Jegadesan NK; Branzei D

DDX11 loss causes replication stress and pharmacologically exploitable DNA repair defects. Journal Article

In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118 (17), pp. e2024258118, 2021.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Branzei D; Szakal B

DNA helicases in homologous recombination repair Journal Article

In: Current opinion in genetics & development, 71 , pp. 27-33, 2021.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Psakhye I; Branzei D

SMC complexes are guarded by the SUMO protease Ulp2 against SUMO-chain-mediated turnover Journal Article

In: Cell reports, 36 (5), 2021.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Agashe S; Joseph CR; Reyes TAC; Menolfi D; Giannattasio M; Waizenegger A; Szakal B; Branzei D

Smc5/6 functions with Sgs1-Top3-Rmi1 to complete chromosome replication at natural pause sites. Journal Article

In: Nature communications, 12 (1), pp. 2111, 2021.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Kawasumi R; Abe T; Psakhye I; Miyata K; Hirota K; Branzei D

Vertebrate CTF18 and DDX11 essential function in cohesion is bypassed by preventing WAPL-mediated cohesin release Journal Article

In: Genes & development, 35 (19-20), pp. 1368-1382, 2021.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX


Waizenegger A; Urulangodi M; Lehmann CP; Reyes TAC; Saugar I; Tercero JA; Szakal B; Branzei D

Mus81-Mms4 endonuclease is an Esc2-STUbL-Cullin8 mitotic substrate impacting on genome integrity. Journal Article

In: Nature communications, 11 (1), pp. 5746, 2020.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Lehmann CP; Jimenez-Martín A; Branzei D; Tercero JA

Prevention of unwanted recombination at damaged replication forks Journal Article

In: Current genetics, 66 (6), pp. 1045-1051, 2020.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Rossi F; Helbling-Leclerc A; Kawasumi R; Jegadesan NK; Xu X; Devulder P; Abe T; Takata M; Xu D; Rosselli F; Branzei D

SMC5/6 acts jointly with Fanconi anemia factors to support DNA repair and genome stability. Journal Article

In: EMBO reports, 21 (2), pp. e48222, 2020.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Jimenez-Martin A; Saugar I; Joseph CR; Mayer A; Lehmann CP; Szakal B; Branzei D; Tercero JA

The Mgs1/WRNIP1 ATPase Is Required to Prevent a Recombination Salvage Pathway at Damaged Replication Forks Journal Article

In: Science advances, 6 (15), 2020.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX


Giannattasio M; Branzei D

DNA Replication Through Strand Displacement During Lagging Strand DNA Synthesis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Journal Article

In: Genes (Basel), 10 (2), pp. E167, 2019.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Gallo D; Kim T; Szakal B; Saayman X; Narula A; Park Y; Branzei D; Zhang Z; Brown GW

Rad5 Recruits Error-Prone DNA Polymerases for Mutagenic Repair of ssDNA Gaps on Undamaged Templates. Journal Article

In: Molecular cell, 73 (5), pp. 900-914, 2019.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Psakhye I; Castellucci F; Branzei D

SUMO-Chain-Regulated Proteasomal Degradation Timing Exemplified in DNA Replication Initiation. Journal Article

In: Molecular cell, 76 (4), pp. 632-645, 2019.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Menolfi D; Branzei D

Using Cell Cycle-Restricted Alleles to Study the Chromatin Dynamics and Functions of the Structural Maintenance of Chromosomes (SMC) Complexes In Vivo. Book Chapter

In: A, Badrinarayanan (Ed.): Methods in molecular biology, 2004 (3), pp. 16, Humana, New York, NY, 2019, ISBN: 978-1-4939-9519-6.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX


Abe T; Kawasumi R; Giannattasio M; Dusi S; Yoshimoto Y; Miyata K; Umemura K; Hirota K; Branzei D

AND-1 fork protection function prevents fork resection and is essential for proliferation. Journal Article

In: Nature Communications, 9 (1), pp. 3091, 2018.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Kannan A; Bhatia K; Branzei D; Gangwani L

Combined deficiency of Senataxin and DNA-PKcs causes DNA damage accumulation and neurodegeneration in spinal muscular atrophy. Journal Article

In: Nucleic Acids Research, 46 (16), pp. 8326-8346, 2018.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Abe T; Branzei D; Hirota K

Damage Tolerance Mechanisms Revealed from the Analysis of Immunoglobulin V Gene Diversification in Avian DT40 Cells. Journal Article

In: Genes, 9 (12), pp. 614, 2018.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Litwin I; Bakowski T; Szakal B; Pilarczyk E; Maciaszczyk-Dziubinska E; Branzei D; Wysocki R

Error-free DNA damage tolerance pathway is facilitated by the Irc5 translocase through cohesin. Journal Article

In: Embo Journal, 37 (18), pp. e98732, 2018.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Iacovella MG; Bremang M; Basha O; Giacò L; Carotenuto W; Golfieri C; Szakal B; Dal Maschio M; Infantino V; Beznoussenko GV; Joseph CR; Visintin C; Mironov AA; Visintin R; Branzei D; Ferreira-Cerca S; Yeger-Lotem E; De Wulf P

Integrating Rio1 activities discloses its nutrient-activated network in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Journal Article

In: Nucleic Acids Research, 46 (15), pp. 7586-7611, 2018.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Branzei D; Giannattasio M

SIRFing the replication fork: Assessing protein interactions with nascent DNA Journal Article

In: Journal of Cell Biology, 217 (4), pp. 1177, 2018.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Nakazato A; Kajita K; Ooka M; Akagawa R; Abe T; Takeda S; Branzei D; Hirota K

SPARTAN promotes genetic diversification of the immunoglobulin-variable gene locus in avian DT40 cells. Journal Article

In: DNA Repair, 68 , pp. 50-57, 2018.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Srivatsan A; Li BZ; Szakal B; Branzei D; Putnam CD; Kolodner RD

The Swr1 chromatin-remodeling complex prevents genome instability induced by replication fork progression defects. Journal Article

In: Nature Communications, 9 (1), pp. 3680, 2018.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Abe T; Ooka M; Kawasumi R; Miyata K; Takata M; Hirota K; Branzei D

Warsaw breakage syndrome DDX11 helicase acts jointly with RAD17 in the repair of bulky lesions and replication through abasic sites. Journal Article

In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115 (33), pp. 8412-8417, 2018.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX


Kawasumi R; Abe T; Arakawa H; Garre M; Hirota K; Branzei D

ESCO1/2's roles in chromosome structure and interphase chromatin organization. Journal Article

In: Genes and development, 31 (21), pp. 2136-2150, 2017.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX