Doriana Fruci studied Sciences in Biology at Rome University and received the specialization in Medical Genetics in 1998, before a 3 year post-doc at INSERM U25, Paris. Since 2002 she is a Principal Investigator at the Bambino Gesù Children Hospital. Her post-doctoral studies led to the identification of endoplasmic reticulum aminopeptidases that trim peptides before binding to MHC class I molecules. Her team is currently interested to define the role of these enzymes in tumor rejection and how their manipulation may impact anti-tumor immune responses. She is also interested in studying the role of tumor-infiltrating immune cells in mediating control of cancer growth.
Major histocompatibility complex class I molecules present antigenic peptides on the cell surface to alert immune cells for the presence of abnormal intracellular events, such as virus infection or malignant transformation. The generation of antigenic peptides is a multistep process that ends in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) with the trimming of N-terminal extensions by aminopeptidases ERAP1 and ERAP2. Several studies have highlighted the potential role of these enzymes in reprogramming the immunogenicity of tumor cells by eliciting innate and adaptive antitumor immune responses, and in conferring susceptibility to autoimmune diseases in predisposed individuals. Recently, we demonstrated that manipulation of ERAP1 is a promising tool to improve the efficacy of NK cell-based approaches for cancer immunotherapy.