Alessandro Didonna
  • Faculty, East Carolina University
Research fields
  • Neuroscience
Personal information


Ph.D. in Functional and Structural Genomics, International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA), 2010

Lab information

The Didonna Lab aims at understanding the mechanistic connection between aberrant immune responses and neurodegenerative processes in chronic human diseases.

Research focus

Neurodegeneration; Multiple Sclerosis; Autoimmunity; Protein Misfolding; Movement Disorders.


1. Didonna A, Legname G. Aberrant ERK 1/2 complex activation and localization in scrapie-infected GT1-1 cells. Mol Neurodegener. 2010 Aug 09; 5:29. PMID: 20696038. PMCID: PMC2928767

2. Didonna A, Vaccari L, Bek A, Legname G. Infrared microspectroscopy: a multiple-screening platform for investigating single-cell biochemical perturbations upon prion infection. ACS Chem Neurosci. 2011 Mar 16; 2(3):160-74. PMID: 22778865. PMCID: PMC3369737

3. Didonna A, Sussman J, Benetti F, Legname G. The role of Bax and caspase-3 in doppel-induced apoptosis of cerebellar granule cells. Prion. 2012 Jul 01; 6(3):309-16. PMID: 22561161. PMCID: PMC3399532

4. Didonna A. Prion protein and its role in signal transduction. Cell Mol Biol Lett. 2013 Jun; 18(2):209-30. PMID: 23479001

5. Mahammad S, Murthy SN, Didonna A, Grin B, Israeli E, Perrot R, Bomont P, Julien JP, Kuczmarski E, Opal P, Goldman RD. Giant axonal neuropathy-associated gigaxonin mutations impair intermediate filament protein degradation. J Clin Invest. 2013 May; 123(5):1964-75. PMID: 23585478. PMCID: PMC3635735

6. Venkatraman A, Hu YS, Didonna A, Cvetanovic M, Krbanjevic A, Bilesimo P, Opal P. The histone deacetylase HDAC3 is essential for Purkinje cell function, potentially complicating the use of HDAC inhibitors in SCA1. Hum Mol Genet. 2014 Jul 15; 23(14):3733-45. PMID: 24594842. PMCID: PMC4065149

7. Didonna A, Opal P. The promise and perils of HDAC inhibitors in neurodegeneration. Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 2015 Jan; 2(1):79-101. PMID: 25642438. PMCID: PMC4301678

8. Didonna A, Oksenberg JR. Genetic determinants of risk and progression in multiple sclerosis. Clin Chim Acta. 2015 Sep 20; 449:16-22. PMID: 25661088. PMCID: PMC4524789

9. Didonna A, Venturini AC, Hartman K, Vranac T, Curin Šerbec V, Legname G. Characterization of four new monoclonal antibodies against the distal N-terminal region of PrP(c). PeerJ. 2015; 3:e811. PMID: 25802800. PMCID: PMC4369333

10. Didonna A, Isobe N, Caillier SJ, Li KH, Burlingame AL, Hauser SL, Baranzini SE, Patsopoulos NA, Oksenberg JR. A non-synonymous single-nucleotide polymorphism associated with multiple sclerosis risk affects the EVI5 interactome. Hum Mol Genet. 2015 Dec 15; 24(24):7151-8. PMID: 26433934. PMCID: PMC5007634

11. Didonna A, Benetti F. Post-translational modifications in neurodegeneration. AIMS Biophysics. 2016; 1(3):27-49.

12. Didonna A. Preclinical Models of Multiple Sclerosis: Advantages and Limitations Towards Better Therapies. Curr Med Chem. 2016; 23(14):1442-59. PMID: 27048376

13. Didonna A, Cekanaviciute E, Oksenberg JR, Baranzini SE. Immune cell-specific transcriptional profiling highlights distinct molecular pathways controlled by Tob1 upon experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Sci Rep. 2016 Aug 22; 6:31603. PMID: 27546286. PMCID: PMC4992865

14. Didonna A, Opal P. Advances in Sequencing Technologies for Understanding Hereditary Ataxias: A Review. JAMA Neurol. 2016 Dec 01; 73(12):1485-1490. PMID: 27749953. PMCID: PMC5513693

15. Guglielmetti C, Najac C, Didonna A, Van der Linden A, Ronen SM, Chaumeil MM. Hyperpolarized 13C MR metabolic imaging can detect neuroinflammation in vivo in a multiple sclerosis murine model. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Aug 15; 114(33):E6982-E6991. PMID: 28760957. PMCID: PMC5565402

16. Didonna A, Oksenberg JR. Multiple Sclerosis: Perspectives in Treatment and Pathogenesis. Ian S. Zagon and Patricia J. McLaughlin (Editors). The Genetics of Multiple Sclerosis. 2017; 3-16.

17. Canto E, Isobe N, Didonna A, Hauser SL, Oksenberg JR. Aberrant STAT phosphorylation signaling in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from multiple sclerosis patients. J Neuroinflammation. 2018 Mar 07; 15(1):72. PMID: 29514694. PMCID: PMC5840794

18. Frederick NM, Shah PV, Didonna A, Langley MR, Kanthasamy AG, Opal P. Loss of the dystonia gene Thap1 leads to transcriptional deficits that converge on common pathogenic pathways in dystonic syndromes. Hum Mol Genet. 2018 Dec 26. PMID: 30590536

19. Edamakanti CR, Do J, Didonna A, Martina M, Opal P. Mutant ataxin1 disrupts cerebellar development in spinocerebellar ataxia type 1. J Clin Invest. 2018 Mar 13. PMID: 29533923

20. Didonna A, Canto E. Genetic Factors in Neuroimmune Diseases. In: Neuroimmune Diseases. Contemporary Clinical Neuroscience. Hiroshi Mitoma and Mario Manto (Editors), Springer, Cham. 2019; 357-386.

21. Didonna A, Cantó E, Shams H, Isobe N, Zhao C, Caillier SJ, Condello C, Yamate-Morgan H, Tiwari-Woodruff SK, Mofrad MRK, Hauser SL, Oksenberg JR. Sex-specific Tau methylation patterns and synaptic transcriptional alterations are associated with neural vulnerability during chronic neuroinflammation. J Autoimmun. 2019 Jul; 101:56-69. PMID: 31010726. PMCID: PMC6561733

22. Didonna A, Opal P. The role of neurofilament aggregation in neurodegeneration: lessons from rare inherited neurological disorders. Mol Neurodegener. 2019 May 16; 14(1):19. PMID: 31097008. PMCID: PMC6524292

23. Renschen A, Matsunaga A, Oksenberg JR, Santaniello A, Didonna A. TopoDB: a novel multifunctional management system for laboratory animal colonies. Database (Oxford). 2020 Jan 01; 2020. PMID: 33206961. PMCID: PMC7673335

24. Didonna A, Canto Puig E, Ma Q, Matsunaga A, Ho B, Caillier SJ, Shams H, Lee N, Hauser SL, Tan Q, Zamvil SS, Oksenberg JR. Ataxin-1 regulates B cell function and the severity of autoimmune experimental encephalomyelitis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2020 09 22; 117(38):23742-23750. PMID: 32878998. PMCID: PMC7519225

25. Didonna A, Damotte V, Shams H, Matsunaga A, Caillier SJ, Dandekar R, Misra MK, Mofrad MRK, Oksenberg JR, Hollenbach JA. A splice acceptor variant in HLA-DRA affects the conformation and cellular localization of the class II DR alpha-chain. Immunology. 2021 Feb; 162(2):194-207. PMID: 32986852

26. Didonna A. Tau at the interface between neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation. Genes Immun. 2020 11; 21(5):288-300. PMID: 33011744

27. Ma Q, Matsunaga A, Ho B, Oksenberg JR, Didonna A. Oligodendrocyte-specific Argonaute profiling identifies microRNAs associated with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. J Neuroinflammation. 2020 Oct 12; 17(1):297. PMID: 33046105. PMCID: PMC7552381

28. Ma Q, Didonna A. The novel multiple sclerosis susceptibility gene ATXN1 regulates B cell receptor signaling in B-1a cells. Molecular Brain. 2021 2021 Jan 21; 14:19. PMCID: PMC7819313

29. Ma Q, Caillier SJ, UCSF MS-EPIC, Cree B, Hauser SL, Didonna A, Oksenberg JR. Specific hypomethylation programs underpin B cell activation in early multiple sclerosis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2021 Dec 21;118(51):e2111920118. PMCID: PMC8713784

30. Frederik NM, Pooler MM, Shah P, Didonna A, Opal A. Pharmacological Perturbation reveals deficits in the dopamine indirect pathway in Thap1 conditional knockout mice. Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 2021 Dec; 8(12):2302-2308. PMCID: PMC8670318

31. Shams H, Hollenbach JA, Matsunaga A, Mofrad MRK, Oksenberg JR, Didonna A. A short HLA-DRA isoform binds the HLA-DR2 heterodimer on the outer domain of the peptide-binding site. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2022 Apr 15;719:109156. PMCID: PMC9007275

32. Shams H, Matsunaga A, Ma Q, Didonna A. Methylation at a conserved lysine residue modulates tau functions and its sub-cellular localization. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2022 Feb 26;120:103707. PMID: 35231567

33. Shams H, Shao X, Santaniello A, Kirkish G, Harroud A, Ma Q, MS-EPIC Team, Schaefer C, McCauley JL, Cree BAC, Didonna A, Baranzini SE, Patsopoulos NA, Hauser SL, Barcellos LF, Henry RG, Oksenberg JR. Polygenic risk score association with multiple sclerosis susceptibility and phenotype in Europeans. Brain. 2022 Mar 7;awac092. PMID: 35253861
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