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Ana María Salicioni

Assistant Professor

Research efforts in my laboratory are directed towards a better understanding of the molecular basis of male fertility, in search of new venues for therapeutic intervention of male infertility, as well as towards identification of molecular targets that will lead to the development of non-hormonal male contraceptives. We have focused our studies on the characterization and analysis of the role of protein kinases and phosphatases in signaling events conducive to sperm capacitation, and on the development of research tools for biochemical analysis of those proteins. In particular, we are interested in identifying the molecule(s) involved in these events in male germ cells, among which we count the novel family of testis-specific serine protein kinases (TSSKs).

Current Research
At present, our main research goal is to capitalize on the unique properties of the testis-specific serine kinases (TSSKs) as potential targets for specific inhibition of spermiogenesis that could render the sperm unable to fertilize the egg. TSSKs are a recently described family of male germ-specific enzymatic molecules, and we are focused on finding specific inhibitors of these enzymes. We predict that TSSK inhibitors will reversibly block reproduction and therefore constitute ideal candidates for a non-hormonal male contraceptive agent. We have recently demonstrated that four members of the TSSK family are present in mature mammalian sperm, and have also reported valuable biochemical features on this family of kinases (Li et al., MHR 2011; Jha et al., JBC 2013) that will serve as basis in the search for TSSK1 small-molecule inhibitors and for analysis of TSSKs by crystallography.

Learn more at www.vasci.umass.edu/research-faculty/ana-maria-salicioni

Academic Background

  • PhD University of San Luis, Argentina, 1993
  • Postdoctoral Training: St George’s Hospital Medical School, London, UK; Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA; University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Battistone MA, Da Ros VG, Salicioni AM, Navarrete FA, Krapf D, Visconti PE, Cuasnicú PS. 2013. Functional human sperm capacitation requires both bicarbonate-dependent PKA activation and down-regulation of Ser/Thr phosphatases by Src family kinases.. Mol Hum Reprod. 19(9): 570-580.
Jha KN, Coleman AR, Wong L, Salicioni AM, Howcroft E, Johnson GR. 2013. Heat shock protein 90 functions to stabilize and activate the testis-specific serine/threonine kinases, a family of kinases essential for male fertility.. J Biol Chem. 288(23):16308-20.
Salicioni AM, Romano FB, Visconti PE. 2012. Testis-Specific Kinases in male Fertility and as Targets for Contraception. American Pharmaceutical Review. 15(5).
Porambo JR, Salicioni AM, Visconti PE, Platt MD. 2012. Sperm phosphoproteomics: historical perspectives and current methodologies. Expert Rev Proteomics. 9(5):533-48.
Li Y, Sosnik J, Brassard L, Reese M, Spiridonov NA, Bates TC, Johnson GR, Anguita J, Visconti PE, Salicioni AM. 2011. Expression and localization of five members of the testis-specific serine kinase (Tssk) family in mouse and human sperm and testis. Mol Hum Reprod. 17(1):42-56.
Testis-specific serine kinase protein family in male fertility and as targets for non-hormonal male contraception†. Salicioni AM, Gervasi MG, Sosnik J, Tourzani DA, Nayyab S, Caraballo DA, Visconti PE. Biol Reprod. 2020 Aug 4;103(2):264-274. doi: 10.1093/biolre/ioaa064. PMID: 32337545 Free PMC article.
Capacitation increases glucose consumption in murine sperm. Hidalgo DM, Romarowski A, Gervasi MG, Navarrete F, Balbach M, Salicioni AM, Levin LR, Buck J, Visconti PE. Mol Reprod Dev. 2020 Sep 10. doi: 10.1002/mrd.23421. Online ahead of print. PMID: 32914502
Transient Sperm Starvation Improves the Outcome of Assisted Reproductive Technologies. Navarrete FA, Aguila L, Martin-Hidalgo D, Tourzani DA, Luque GM, Ardestani G, Garcia-Vazquez FA, Levin LR, Buck J, Darszon A, Buffone MG, Mager J, Fissore RA, Salicioni AM, Gervasi MG, Visconti PE. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2019 Nov 5;7:262. doi: 10.3389/fcell.2019.00262. eCollection 2019. PMID: 31750304 Free PMC article.
Sperm capacitation is associated with phosphorylation of the testis-specific radial spoke protein Rsph6a†. Paudel B, Gervasi MG, Porambo J, Caraballo DA, Tourzani DA, Mager J, Platt MD, Salicioni AM, Visconti PE. Biol Reprod. 2019 Feb 1;100(2):440-454. doi: 10.1093/biolre/ioy202. PMID: 30239614 Free PMC article.
Transient exposure to calcium ionophore enables in vitro fertilization in sterile mouse models. Navarrete FA, Alvau A, Lee HC, Levin LR, Buck J, Leon PM, Santi CM, Krapf D, Mager J, Fissore RA, Salicioni AM, Darszon A, Visconti PE. Sci Rep. 2016 Sep 15;6:33589. doi: 10.1038/srep33589. PMID: 27627854 Free PMC article.
Identification of a novel isoform of the leukemia-associated MLLT1 (ENL/LTG19) protein. Wallingford MC, Filkins R, Adams D, Walentuk M, Salicioni AM, Visconti PE, Mager J. Gene Expr Patterns. 2015 Jan;17(1):11-5. doi: 10.1016/j.gep.2014.11.003. Epub 2014 Dec 3.PMID: 25481096
Abbruzzese G, Cousin H, Salicioni AM, Alfandari D. Mol Biol Cell. 2014 Dec 15;25(25):4072-82. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E14-05-0970. Epub 2014 Oct 8. PMID: 25298404 Free PMC article.
Contact Info

Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences
427J Integrated Science Building
661 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01003

(413) 577-3315