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Giovanna Rappocciolo, PhD

Assistant Professor, Infectious Diseases and Microbiology


2132 Parran Hall, 130 DeSoto Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261
R-znvy: tvbinaan@cvgg.rqh
Primary Phone: 967-838-4045

Personal Statement

Cellular immunity to herpesviruses and immunodeficiency virus. Research Summary Dr. Rappocciolo is interested in the area of human herpesvirus research, in particular in the immunopathology of human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8 or Kaposi's sarcoma associated herpesvirus, KSHV). Dr. Rappocciolo recent studies  have identified DC-SIGN, a C-type lectin, as the main receptor used by HHV8 to infect dendritic cells,activated macrophages and B lymphocytes.  These findings established the first in vitro model of HHV-8 infection of its natural target cells.   Another area of research led by Dr.  Rappocciolo  is  the study of the role of  antigen presenting cells such as activated B cells and dendritic cells  in the transmission of HIV to bystander T cells. Dr. Rappocciolo  has shown that activated B cells express DC-SIGN and this molecule is used to bind and internalized HIV, and although B cells do not become productively infected with HIV, they are able to deliver it to bystander T lymphocytes. So far, B cells are not considered to be a reservoir for HIV-1, but these data demonstrate that they could play an important role in HIV-1 transmission and pathogenesis. Recently, Dr. Rappocciolo has studied the relationship between trans infection and HIV-1 disease progression. Strikingly,  DC and B cells from  patients able to naturally control HIV-1 disease progression, called controllers, do not transfer HIV-1 to bystander T cells and this defect seems to be related to lower contents of cellular cholesterol. These data could provide a better insight of the pathogenesis of HIV-1 infection. Further studies are now underway to better define this indirect mechanism of infection of T cells.


1983 | University of Milan, Milan, Italy | PhD, Biological Sciences

Selected Publications

1.Rappocciolo G, Jais M, Piazza P, Reinhart TA, Berendam SJ, Garcia-Exposito L, Gupta P, Rinaldo CR. Alterations in cholesterol metabolism restrict HIV-1 trans infection in nonprogressors. MBio. 2014;5(3):e01031-13. PMID:24781743. PMCID:PMC4010827.
2.Campbell DM, Rappocciolo G, Jenkins FJ, Rinaldo CR. Dendritic cells: key players in human herpesvirus 8 infection and pathogenesis. Frontiers in Microbiology. 2014;5:452. PMID:25221546. PMCID:PMC4148009. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2014.00452.
3.Knowlton ER, Rappocciolo G, Piazza P, Lepone LM, Nadgir SV, Bullotta A, Berendam SJ, Li J, Reinhart TA, Jenkins FJ, Rinaldo CR. Human Herpesvirus 8 Induces Polyfunctional B Lymphocytes That Drive Kaposi's Sarcoma. MBio. 2014;5(5)PMID:25182322. doi:10.1128/mBio.01277-14.
4.Mailliard RB, Smith KN, Fecek RJ, Rappocciolo G, Nascimento EJ, Marques ET, Watkins SC, Mullins JI, Rinaldo CR.Selective Induction of CTL Helper Rather Than Killer Activity by Natural Epitope Variants Promotes Dendritic Cell-Mediated HIV-1 Dissemination. Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). 2013 Sep 1;191(5):2570-80. PMID:23913962.
5.Nadgir SV, Hensler HR, Knowlton ER, Rinaldo CR, Rappocciolo G, Jenkins FJ. Fifty percent tissue culture infective dose assay for determining the titer of infectious human herpesvirus 8. Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 2013 Jun;51(6):1931-4. PMID:23554189. PMCID:PMC3716109.
6. Knowlton ER, Lepone LM, Li J, Rappocciolo G, Jenkins FJ, Rinaldo CR. Professional antigen presenting cells in human herpesvirus 8 infection. Frontiers in immunology. 2012;3:427. PMID:23346088. PMCID:PMC3549500.
7.Lepone L, Rappocciolo G, Knowlton E, Jais M, Piazza P, Kenkins FJ, Rinaldo CR. Monofunctional and polyfunctional CD8+ T cell responses to human herpesvirus 8 lytic and latency proteins. Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2010;17(10):1507-16. PMID:20719985. PMCID:2952991.1
8.Colleton BA, Huang XL, Melhem NM, Fan Z, Borowski L, Rappocciolo G, Rinaldo CR. Primary human immunodeficiency virus type 1-specific CD8+ T-cell responses induced by myeloid dendritic cells. Journal of virology. 2009 Jun;83(12):6288-99. PMID:19357176. PMCID:PMC2687398.
9.Hensler HR, Rappocciolo G, Rinaldo CR, Jenkins FJ. Cytokine production by human herpesvirus 8-infected dendritic cells. The Journal of general virology. 2009 Jan;90(0):79-83. PMID:19088276. PMCID:PMC2605677.
10.Rappocciolo G, Hensler HR, Jais M, Reinhart TA, Pegu A, Jenkins FJ, Rinaldo CR. Human herpesvirus 8 infects and replicates in primary cultures of activated B lymphocytes through DC-SIGN. Journal of virology. 2008 May;82(10):4793-806. PMID:18337571. PMCID:PMC2346758.
11.Rappocciolo G, Piazza P, Fuller CL, Reinhart TA, Watkins SC, Rowe DT, Jais M, Gupta P, Rinaldo CR. DC-SIGN on B lymphocytes is required for transmission of HIV-1 to T lymphocytes. PLoS pathogens. 2006 Jul;2(7):e70. PMID:16839201. PMCID:PMC1500807.
12.Rappocciolo G, Jenkins FJ, Hensler HR, Piazza P, Jais M, Borowski L, Watkins SC, Rinaldo CR Jr. DC-SIGN is a receptor for human herpesvirus 8 on dendritic cells and macrophages. Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). 2006 Feb 1;176(3):1741-9. PMID:16424204.
13.Rappocciolo G, Birch J, Ellis SA. Down-regulation of MHC class I expression by equine herpesvirus-1. The Journal of general virology. 2003 Feb;84(Pt 2):293-300. PMID:12560560.

Giovanna  Rappocciolo
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