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Passafaro Maria

maria passafaroSenior research scientist
Via Luigi Vanvitelli 32
20129 Milano
Tel 02-50316973
Fax 02-7490574
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 Synapse plasticity and cognitive disordes


Research summary

My team is working on mechanism that regulate formation and function of synapse, focusing on genetic disorders. Our main projects are:

1) Molecular regulation of glutamate receptors trafficking, at synapses.

2) Function of AMPA receptors and associated proteins in regulating synapse formation.

3) Identification of the role of genes in brain structure and function (TM4SF2, SHROOM4 and PCDH19) whose mutations are responsible of severe forms of psychiatric diseases and that encode proteins which are linked directly to the synaptic function and dendritic spines development (Intellectual Disability and Autism).

passafaro1   passafaro2

Glutamate receptors trafficking during synaptic plasticity


The X-linked intellectual disability (XLID) protein’s role in an excitatory neuron.


Representative publications

Maraschi A, Ciammola A, Folci A, Sassone F, Ronzitti G, Cappelletti G, Silani V, Sato S, Hattori N, Mazzanti M, Chieregatti E, Mulle C, Passafaro M# and Sassone J#. Parkin regulates kainate receptors by interacting with the GluK2 subunit. Nature Comm. 2014 Oct 15;5:5182 (# co-last authors)

Folci A, Mapelli L, Sassone J, Prestori F, D’Angelo E, Bassani S, Passafaro M. Loss of hnRNP K impairs synaptic plasticity in hippocampal neurons J. Neurosci. 2014 Jul 2;34(27):9088-95

Bassani S, Zapata J, Gerosa L, Moretto E, Murru L, Passafaro M.
The neurobiology of X-linked intellectual disability. Neuroscientist. 2013 Oct;19(5):541-52.

Bassani S, Folci A, Zapata J, Passafaro M.
AMPAR trafficking in synapse maturation and plasticity. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2013 Dec;70(23)

Bassani S, Cingolani LA, Valnegri P, Folci A, Zapata J, Gianfelice A, Sala C, Goda Y, Passafaro M,
“The X-linked intellectual disability protein TSPAN7 regulates excitatory synapse development and AMPAR trafficking”. Neuron 2012 Mar 22;73(6):1143-58.

Valnegri P, Khelfaoui M, Dorseuil O, Bassani S, Lagneaux C, Gianfelice A, Benfante R, Chelly J, Billuart P, Sala C, Passafaro M,
“A circadian clock in hippocampus is regulated by interaction between oligophrenin-1 and Rev-erbα”. Nat Neurosci. 2011 Aug 28;14(10):1293-301.

Correia SS, Bassani S, Brown TC, Lisé MF, Backos DS, El-Husseini A, Passafaro M, Esteban JA,
“Motor protein-dependent transport of AMPA receptors into spines during long-term potentiation”. Nat Neurosci 2008; 11(4): 457-66.

Saglietti L, Dequidt C, Kamieniarz K, Rousset MC, Valnegri P, Thoumine O, Beretta F, Fagni L, Choquet D, Sala C, Sheng M, Passafaro M,
“Extracellular Interactions between GluR2 and N-Cadherin in Spine Regulation”. Neuron 2007; 54(3): 461-77.

Passafaro M*, Nakagawa T, Sala C, Sheng M,
“Induction of dendritic spines by an extracellular domain of AMPA receptor subunit GluR2”. Nature 2003 Aug 7; 424 (6949): 677-81.