Alessio Terenzi, PhD

Alessio Terenzi, PhD

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Research Platform Translational Cancer Therapy Research
Institute of Inorganic Chemistry

Project: "MeCoSG4" - Development of metal complexes coupled to innovative delivering strategies to selective targeting of G-quadruplexes

Recent years have seen an increased interest in highly polymorphic non-canonical DNA structures known as G-quadruplexes (G4s), which can be considered excellent biological targets for selective anticancer drugs due to their involvement in particular cellular carcinogenic pathways.

In this context, the aim of this project is to design and synthesize metal based anticancer drugs, which selectively recognize specific G4 structures, and to develop delivery systems based on long oligonucleotides with G4 units able to release their cargo specifically to cancer cells.



39) W. Streciwilk, A. Terenzi, X. Cheng, L. Hager, Y. Dabiri, P. Prochnow, J.E. Bandow, S. Wölfl, B.K. Keppler, I. Ott. Fluorescent organometallic rhodium(I) and ruthenium(II) metallodrugs with 4-ethylthio-1,8-naphthalimide ligands: Antiproliferative effects, cellular uptake and DNA-interaction. Eur J Med Chem. 2018 Jun 25; 156:148-161.

38) W. Streciwilk, A. Terenzi, F. Lo Nardo, P. Prochnow, J.E. Bandow, B.K. Keppler, I. Ott. Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of Organometallic Complexes Bearing Bis‐1,8‐naphthalimide Ligands. Eur JIC. 2018, July, 26:3104-3112

37) R. Bonsignore, F. Russo, A. Terenzi, A. Spinello, A. Lauria, G. Gennaro, A.M. Almerico, B.K. Keppler, G. Barone. The interaction of Schiff Base complexes of nickel(II) and zinc(II) with duplex and G-quadruplex DNA. J Inorg Biochem. 2018 Jan;178:106-114.



36) A. Manfredi, N. Mauro, A. Terenzi, J. Alongi, F. Lazzari., F. Ganazzoli, G. Raffaini, E. Ranucci, P. Ferruti. Self-Ordering Secondary Structure of D- and L-Arginine-Derived Polyamidoamino Acids. ACS Macro Lett. 2017, 6 (9), pp 987–991

35) R.R. Panchuk, L. V. Lehka, A. Terenzi, B.P. Matselyukh, J. Rohr, A.K. Jha, T. Downey, I.J. Kril, I. Herbacek, S. van Schoonhoven, P. Heffeter, R.S. Stoika and W. Berger – “Rapid generation of hydrogen peroxide contributes to the complex cell death induction by the angucycline antibiotic landomycin E” - Free Radic. Biol. Med., 2017, 106, 134–147

34) O. Domarco, D. Lötsch, J. Schreiber, C. Dinhof, S. van Schoonhoven, M. D. García, C. Peinador, B. K. Keppler, W. Berger and A. Terenzi* - “Self-assembled Pt2L2 boxes strongly bind G-quadruplex DNA and influence gene expression in cancer cells” - Dalton Trans., 2017, 46, 329-332 Corresponding Author; Open Access; Featured on the journal front cover.

33) W. Streciwilk, A. Terenzi, R. Misgeld, C. Frias, P. G. Jones, A. Prokop, B. K. Keppler, I. Ott - “Metal NHC Complexes with Naphthalimide Ligands: Antiproliferative Effects, Cellular Uptake and DNA Interaction” – ChemMedChem, 2017, 12, 214-225



32) R. Bonsignore, A. Notaro, A. M. Salvo, A. Spinello, G. Fiasconaro, A. Terenzi, F. Giacalone, B. K. Keppler, M. Giuliano, M. Gruttadauria, G. Barone - “DNA-binding and anticancer activity of pyrene-imidazolium derivatives” - ChemistrySelect, 2016, 1, 6755-6761

31) C. Karnthaler-Benbakka, D. Groza, B. Koblmüller, A. Terenzi, K. Holste, M. Haider, D. Baier, W. Berger, P. Heffeter, C. R. Kowol B. K. Keppler - “Targeting a Targeted Drug: An Approach Toward Hypoxia-Activatable Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor Prodrugs” – ChemMedChem, 2016, 11, 2410-2421.

30) A. Terenzi*, D. Lötsch, S. van Schoonhoven, A. Roller, C. R. Kowol, W. Berger, B. K. Keppler, G.Barone - “Another step toward DNA selective targeting: NiII and CuII complexes of a Schiff base ligand able to bind gene promoter G-quadruplexes” - Dalton Trans., 2016, 45, 7758-7767. Corresponding Author; Open Access
29) A. Terenzi, C. Pirker, B. K. Keppler, W. Berger - “Anticancer metal drugs and immunogenic cell death” - J. Inorg. Biochem., 2016, 165, 71-79.
28) R. Bonsignore, A. Terenzi, A. Spinello, A. Martorana, A. Lauria, A. M. Almerico, B. K. Keppler, G. Barone - “G-quadruplex vs. duplex-DNA binding of nickel(II) and zinc(II) Schiff base complexes” - J. Inorg. Biochem., 2016, 161, 115-121.
27) A. Spinello, R. Bonsignore, G. Barone, B. K. Keppler, A. Terenzi* - “Metal Ions and Metal Complexes in Alzheimer’s Disease” - Current Pharmaceutical Design, 2016, 22, 3996-4010. Corresponding Author
26) H. Gattuso, A. Spinello, A. Terenzi, X. Assfeld, G. Barone, A. Monari - “Circular Dichroism of DNA G-Quadruplexes: Combining Modeling and Spectroscopy To Unravel Complex Structures” - J. Phys. Chem. B, 2016, 120, 3113-3121.
25) C. Garino, A. Terenzi, G. Barone, L. Salassa - “Teaching Inorganic Photophysics and Photochemistry with Three Ruthenium(II) Polypyridyl Complexes: A Computer-Based Exercise” - J. Chem. Educ., 2016, 93, 292-298.



24)  A. Terenzi, A. Lauria, A.M. Almerico, G. Barone - “Zinc complexes as fluorescent chemosensors for nucleic acids: new perspectives for a ’boring’ element” - Dalton Trans., 2015, 44, 3527-3535.
23)  A. Martorana, C. Gentile, U. Perricone, A.P. Piccionello, R. Bartolotta, A. Terenzi, A. Pace, F. Mingoia, A.M. Almerico, A. Lauria -“Synthesis, antiproliferative activity, and in silico insights of new 3-benzoylamino-benzo[b]thiophene derivatives” - Eur. J. Med. Chem., 2015, 90, 537-546.


22)  A. Terenzi, R. Bonsignore, A. Spinello, C. Gentile, A. Martorana, C. Ducani, B. Högberg, A.M. Almerico, A. Lauria, G. Barone - “Selective G-Quadruplex Stabilizers: Schiff-base Metal Complexes with Anticancer Activity” - RSC Adv., 2014, 4, 33245-33256.
21) A. Biancardi, A. Burgalassi, A. Terenzi, A. Spinello, G. Barone, T. Biver, B. Mennucci - ”A Theoretical and Experimental Investigation of the Spectroscopic Properties of a DNA-Intercalator Salphen-Type Zn(II) Complex” - Chem. - Eur. J., 2014, 20, 7439-7447.
20) A. Lauria, A. Alfio, R. Bonsignore, C. Gentile, A. Martorana, G. Gennaro, G. Barone, A. Terenzi, A. M. Almerico - “New benzothieno[3,2-d]-1,2,3-triazines with antiproliferative activity: Synthesis, spectroscopic studies, and biological activity” - Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett., 2014, 24, 3291-3297.
19) A. Lauria, R. Delisi, F. Mingoia, A. Terenzi, A. Martorana, G. Barone, A. M. Almerico - “1,2,3-Triazole in heterocyclic compounds, endowed with biological activity, through 1,3-dipolar cycloadditions” - Eur. J. Org. Chem., 2014, 2014, 3289-3306.
18) A. Lauria, A. Terenzi, R. Bartolotta, R. Bonsignore, U. Perricone, M. Tutone, A. Martorana, G. Barone, A. M. Almerico - “Does ligand symmetry play a role in the stabilization of DNA G-quadruplex host-guest complexes?” - Curr. Med. Chem., 2014, 21, 2665-2690.
17) A. Lauria, R. Bonsignore, A. Terenzi, A. Spinello, F. Giannici, A. Longo, A. M. Almerico, G. Barone,- “Nickel(II), copper(II) and zinc(II) metallo-intercalators: structural details of the DNA-binding by a combined experimental and computational investigation” - Dalton Trans., 2014, 43,6108-6119.
16) A. Lauria, A. Terenzi, A. Martorana, G. Gennaro, G. Barone, A. M. Almerico, - “In silico, spectroscopic and biological insights on annelated pyrrolo[3,2-e]pyrimidines with antiproliferative activity” - Lett. Drug Des. Discovery, 2014, 11, 15-26.



15) A. Terenzi, C. Ducani, L. Male, G. Barone, M. J. Hannon, - “DNA interaction studies by linear dichroism, gel electrophoresis and PCR of CuII, NiII and ZnII functionalized Salphen complexes” - Dalton Trans., 2013, 42, 11220-11226.
14) G. Barone, A. Terenzi, A. Lauria, A. M. Almerico, J. M. Leal, N. Busto, B. Garcia - “DNA-binding of nickel(II), copper(II) and zinc(II) complexes: Structure-affinity relationships” - Coord. Chem. Rev., 2013, 257, 2848-2862.
13) A. Spinello, A. Terenzi, G. Barone, - “Metal Complex-DNA Binding: Insights from Molecular Dynamics and DFT/MM Calculations” - J. Inorg. Biochem., 2013, 124, 63-69
12) A. Pace, G. Barone, A. Lauria, A. Martorana, A. Palumbo Piccionello, P. Pierro, A. Terenzi, A.M. Almerico, S. Buscemi, C. Campanella, F. Angileri, F. Carini, G. Zummo, E. Conway de Macario,F. Cappello, A. J. L. Macario - “Hsp60, a novel target for antitumor therapy: Structure-function features and prospective drugs design.” - Curr. Pharm. Des., 2013, 19, 2757-2764.



11) A. Terenzi, L. Tomasello, A. Spinello, G. Bruno, C. Giordano, G. Barone - “(Dipyrido[3,2-a:2’,3’-c]phenazine)(glycinato)copper(II) perchlorate: A novel DNA-intercalator with anti-proliferative activity against thyroid cancer cell lines” - J. Inorg. Biochem., 2012, 117, 103-110.
10) C. Alvariño, A. Terenzi, V. Blanco, M. D. Garcia, C. Peinador, J. M. Quintela - “[2]Catenanes and inclusion complexes derived from self-assembled rectangular PdII and PtII metallocycles” - Dalton Trans., 2012, 41, 11992-11998. 
Featured on the journal front cover, doi: 10.1039/C2DT90152H
9) A. Terenzi, C. Ducani, V. Blanco, C. Peinador, J. M. Quintela, P. J. Bednarski, G. Barone and M. J. Hannon - “DNA binding studies and cytoxicity of a dinuclear PtII diazapyrenium-based metallo-supramolecular rectangular box” - Chem. - Eur. J., 2012, 10983-10990.

8) A. Terenzi, M. Fanelli, G. Ambrosi, S. Amatori, V. Fusi, L. Giorgi, V. Turco Liveri and G. Barone -“DNA binding and antiproliferative activity toward human carcinoma cells of copper(II) and zinc(II) complexes of a 2,5-diphenyl[1,3,4]oxadiazole derivative”, Dalton Trans., 2012, 4389-4395.



7) A. Terenzi, G. Barone, A. Palumbo Piccionello, G. Giorgi, A. Guarcello, A. Pace - “Synthesis and chemical characterization of CuII, NiII and ZnII complexes of 3,5-bis(2’-pyridyl)-1,2,4-oxadiazole and 3-(2’-pyridyl)5-(phenyl)-1,2,4-oxadiazole ligands”, Inorg. Chim. Acta, 2011, 373, 62-67.


6) V. Blanco, M. D. García, A. Terenzi, E. Pía, A. Fernandez-Mato, C. Peinador, and J. M. Quintela, - “Complexation and Extraction of PAHs to the Aqueous Phase with a Dinuclear PtII Diazapyrenium-Based Metallacycle"- Chem. - Eur. J., 2010, 16, 12373 - 12380.
Featured on the journal front cover, doi: 10.1002/chem.201090203
5) A. Terenzi, G Barone, A. Palumbo Piccionello, G. Giorgi, A. Guarcello, P. Portanova, G. Calvaruso,S. Buscemi, N. Vivona, A. Pace, - “Synthesis, characterization, cellular uptake and interaction with native DNA of a bis(pyridyl)-1,2,4-oxadiazole copper(II) complex” - Dalton Trans., 2010, 39, 9140-9145.
4) G. Barone, A. Ruggirello, A. Silvestri, A. Terenzi, V. Turco Liveri, - “Fluorescence emission and enhanced photochemical stability of ZnII-5-triethyl ammonium methyl salicylidene ortho-phenylendiiminate interacting with native DNA" - J. Inorg. Biochem., 2010, 104, 765-773.


3) G. Barone, N. Gambino, A. Ruggirello, A. Silvestri, A. Terenzi, V. Turco Liveri - “Spectroscopic study of the interaction of NiII-5-triethyl ammonium methyl salicylidene ortho-phenylendiiminate with native DNA” - J. Inorg. Biochem., 2009, 103, 731-737.
2) A. Terenzi, G. Barone, A. Silvestri, A. M. Giuliani, A. Ruggirello, V. Turco Liveri, - “The interaction of native calf thymus DNA with FeIII- dipyrido[3,2-a:2’,3’-c]phenazine” - J. Inorg. Biochem., 2009, 103, 1-9.


1) G. Barone, A. Longo, A. Ruggirello, A. Silvestri, A. Terenzi, V. Turco Liveri, - “Confinement effects on the interaction of native DNA with CuII-5-triethyl ammonium methyl salicylidene orto-phenylendiiminate in C12E4 liquid crystals” - Dalton Trans., 2008, 4172-4178.