Researh & development

Andes Lab


The focus of our lab is the family of noncoding mitochondrial RNAs (ncmtRNAs) and their role in cancer
and other diseases. This family comprises sense (SncmtRNA) and antisense members (ASncmtRNAs).
When the latter are targeted by small DNA drugs (ASOs), cancer cells undergo massive death while
normal cells remain mostly alive. This is the basis for a completed and an ongoing clinical trial. We are
exploring the mechanisms of this selective response in tumor and normal cells and we are currently
studying the effects of this treatment on the response to DNA-damaging agents in order to project an
application as coadjuvant in chemo- and radio-therapy with the aim of minimizing undesirable side
effects of classical treatments. We are also studying these RNAs as possible targets in antiviral therapies.

Teléfono: 56 2 2367 2070

Research Head: Verónica Burzio, Ph.D.
Undergraduate Students: Manuel Muñoz

  • Christopher Fitzpatrick PhD (Former Master’s and PhD Student and Post-doctoral fellow, 2009 – 2021).
    Post-doctoral fellow at Université Paris-Saclay/INRAE, France
  • Macarena Briones MSc (Former Master’s student and Lab Manager, 2010 – 2021). Educator at Bio-Class,
  • Nicole Farfán (Former PhD student, 2015 – 2018) Post-Doctoral fellow at Universidad del Desarrollo,
  • Nicole Sanhueza (Former Master’s student, 2018 – 2020). PhD Student at Pontificia Universidad Católica
    de Chile.
  • Javier Rosas (Former Undergraduate Student, 2019). PhD student at UNAB.
  • Francisca Cárcamo (Former Undergraduate Student, 2019).
  • Maximiliano Bendek (Former PhD student, 2014 – 2019)
  • Diego Peña (Former Undergraduate student, 2018 – 2019). Lab assistant at Fundación Ciencia &Vida.

National Collaborations

  • Dr. Julio Tapia (University of Chile, Santiago, Chile)
  • Dr. Gabriela Zavala (Cells For Cells, Santiago, Chile)

International Collaborations

  • Dr. Eric Barrey (Université Paris-Saclay/INRAE, Jouy-en-Josas, France)
  • Dr. Christopher Fitzpatrick (Université Paris-Saclay/INRAE, Jouy-en-Josas, France)
  • Dr. Andrés Caicedo (Universidad San Francisco de Quito; Mito-Act Research Consortium; Quito, Ecuador)


Burzio, L.O., Gutiérrez, E., Brito, M., Weiss, R.F., Burzio, L.A., Burzio, V.A. (1989)“Marine Bioadhesives: Projections in Medicine and Industry.” Current Topics in Marine Biotechnology, pp 353-356. Japanese Society for Marine Biotechnology. Tokyo, Japón.

Bronfman, M., Nuñez, L., Orellana, A., Burzio, V. and Hidalgo, P. (1995)“Peroxisome Proliferators and Signal Transduction.” Ann. New York Acad. Sci. 804: 403-412.

Burzio, V.A., Silva, T., Pardo, J. y Burzio, L.O. (1996) “Mussel adhesive enhances the immobilization of human chorionic gonadotrophin to a solid support.” Anal Biochem. 241:190-194.

Burzio, L.O., Burzio, V.A., Silva, T., Burzio, L.A., Pardo, J (1997) “Environmental Adhesion: Themes and Applications.” Curr. Opin. Biotechnol. 8: 309-312.

Burzio, L. A., Burzio, V. A., Pardo, J. y Burzio, L. O. (2000) In vitro polymerization of mussel polyphenolic proteins catalyzed by mushroom tyrosinase. Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol. 126:383-389.

Marin, O., Burzio, V., Boschetti, M., Meggio, F., Allende, C. C., Allende, J. E. y Pinna, L. A. (2002) Structural features underlying the multisite phosphorylation of the A domain of the NF-AT4 transcription factor by protein kinase CK1. Biochemistry 41: 618-627.

Burzio, V., Antonelli, M., Allende, C. C. y Allende, J. E. (2002) Biochemical and cellular characteristics of the four splice variants of protein kinase CK1 from zebrafish (Danio rerio). J Cell Biochem 86:805-814.

Albornoz A, Yáñez JM, Foerster C, Aguirre C, Pereiro L, Burzio V, Moraga M, Reyes AE, Antonelli M. (2007) The CK1 gene family: expression patterning in zebrafish development. Biol Res. 40:251-266.

Villegas J, Burzio V, Villota C, Landerer E, Martinez R, Santander M, Martinez R, Pinto R, Vera MI, Boccardo E, Villa LL, Burzio LO. (2007) Expression of a novel non-coding mitochondrial RNA in human proliferating cells. Nucleic Acids Res. 35:7336-47

Burzio V, Villota C, Villegas J, Landerer E, Boccardo E, Villa LL, Martinez R, Lopez C, Gaete F, Toro V, Rodriguez X, Burzio LO (2009) Expression of a Family of Non-Coding Mitochondrial RNAs Distinguishes Normal From Cancer Cells. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 106:9430-4.

Landerer E, Villegas J, Burzio VA, Oliveira L, Villota C, Lopez C, Restovic F, Martinez R, Castillo O, Burzio LO. (2011) Nuclear localization of the mitochondrial ncRNAs in normal and cancer cells. Cell Oncol (Dordr) 34: 297-305.

Villota C, Campos A, Vidaurre S, Oliveira-Cruz L, Boccardo E, Burzio VA, Varas M, Villegas J, Villa LL, Valenzuela PD, Socías M, Roberts S, Burzio LO (2012) Expression of Mitochondrial Non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) Is Modulated by High Risk Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Oncogenes. J Biol Chem. 287:21303-21315.

Rivas A, Burzio V, Landerer E, Borgna V, Gatica S, Ávila R, López C, Villota C, de la Fuente R, Echenique J, Burzio LO, Villegas J. (2012) Determination of the differential expression of mitochondrial long noncoding RNAs as a noninvasive diagnosis of bladder cancer. BMC Urol. 12: 37.

Villegas, J., Dadlani, K., Avila, R., Villota, C., Burzio, V., Lopez, C., Socias, M., Zapata, L., Burzio, LO. (2013) The Mitochondrial Antisense ncRNAs are Down-Regulated in Early Cervical Carcinoma. Journal of Cancer Science and Therapy S7: 004 pag.

Lobos-Gonzalez L, Aguilar-Guzmán L, Fernandez JG, Muñoz N, Hossain M, Bieneck S, Silva V, Burzio V, Sviderskaya EV, Bennett DC, Leyton L, Quest AF. (2014) Caveolin-1 is a risk factor for postsurgery metastasis in preclinical melanoma models. Melanoma Res. 24: 108-19.

Vidaurre S, Fitzpatrick C, Burzio VA, Briones M, Villota C, Villegas J, Echenique J, Oliveira-Cruz L, Araya M, Borgna V, Socías T, Lopez C, Avila R, Burzio LO. (2014) Down-regulation of the Antisense Mitochondrial ncRNAs is a Unique Vulnerability of Cancer Cells and a Potential Target for Cancer Therapy. J Biol Chem. 289:27182-98.

Borgna V, Lobos-González L, Silva V, López C, Araya M, Jeldes E, Burzio V, Socias T, Burzio LO and Villegas J. (2015) The Urgent Need for New Therapeutical Approaches for Renal and Bladder Cancer: Mitochondrial Non-Coding RNAs as Efficient Targets. SM J Urol. 1(2):1012.

Lobos-González L, Silva V, Araya M, Restovic F, Echenique J, Oliveira-Cruz L, Fitzpatrick C, Briones M, Villegas J, Villota C, Vidaurre S, Borgna V, Socia Ms, Valenzuela S, Lopez C, Socias T, Varas M, Díaz J, Burzio LO, Burzio V*. (2016) Targeting antisense mitochondrial ncRNAs inhibits murine melanoma tumor growth and metastasis through reduction in survival and invasion factors. Oncotarget, 7: 58331-58350.

Dadlani K, Lopez C, Gabler F, Juan Roa C, Villota C, Lina-Villa L, Boccardo E, Bustamante E, Burzio V, Burzio LO and Villegas Olavarria J. (2016) Assessment of the Expression of Long Noncoding Mitochondrial RNAs (lncmtRNAs) During Cervical Cancer Progression and Cervical Carcinoma. J Cancer Sci Ther 8:2.

Borgna V, Villegas J, Burzio VA*, Belmar S, Araya M, Jeldes E, Lobos-González L, Silva V, Villota C, Oliveira-Cruz L, Lopez C, Socias T, Castillo O, Burzio LO. (2016) Mitochondrial ASncmtRNA-1 and ASncmtRNA-2 as potent targets to inhibit tumor growth and metastasis in the RenCa murine renal adenocarcinoma model. Oncotarget. 8: 43692-43708.

Villegas J, Borgna V, Burzio VA. (2017) Different cancers, same target? Aging (Albany NY). 9): 1853-1854.

Díaz-Valdivia NI, Calderón CC, Díaz JE, Lobos-González L, Sepulveda H, Ortíz RJ, Martinez S, Silva V, Maldonado HJ, Silva P, Wehinger S, Burzio VA, Torres VA, Montecino M, Leyton L, Quest AFG. (2017) Anti-neoplastic drugs increase caveolin-1-dependent migration, invasion and metastasis of cancer cells. Oncotarget. 8: 111943-111965.

Varas-Godoy M, Lladser A, Farfan N, Villota C, Villegas J, Tapia JC, Burzio LO, Burzio VA*, Valenzuela PDT. (2018) In vivo knockdown of antisense non-coding mitochondrial RNAs by a lentiviral-encoded shRNA inhibits melanoma tumor growth and lung colonization. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 31: 64-72.

Silva-Pavez E, Villar P, Trigo C, Caamaño E, Niechi I, Pérez P, Muñoz JP, Aguayo F, Burzio V, Varas-Godoy M, Castro AF, Colombo MI, Tapia JC. (2019) CK2 inhibition with silmitasertib promotes methuosis-like cell death associated to catastrophic massive vacuolization of colorectal cancer cells. Cell Death Dis. 10: 73.

Villota c, Varas-Godoy M, Jeldes E, Campos A, Villegas J, Borgna V, Burzio LO and Burzio V* (2018) HPV-18 E2 protein downregulates antisense noncoding mitochondrial RNA-2, delaying replicative senescence of human keratinocytes. Aging (Albany NY) 11:33-47.

Fitzpatrick C, Bendek MF, Briones M, Farfán N, Silva VA, Nardocci G, Montecino M, Boland A, Deleuze JF, Villegas J, Villota C, Silva V, Lobos-Gonzalez L, Borgna V, Barrey E, Burzio LO and Burzio V*. Mitochondrial ncRNA targeting induces cell cycle arrest and tumor growth inhibition of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells through reduction of key cell cycle progression factors. Cell Death Dis. 10:423. doi: 10.1038/s41419-019-1649-3.

Pérez-Moreno P, Indo S, Niechi I, Huerta H, Cabello P, Jara L, Aguayo F, Varas-Godoy M, Burzio VA, Tapia JC. (2019) Endothelin-converting enzyme-1c promotes stem cell traits and aggressiveness in colorectal cancer cells [published online ahead of print, 2019 Dec 1]. Molecular Oncology. 10.1002/1878-0261.12609. doi:10.1002/1878-0261.12609

Borgna V, Lobos-González L, Guevara F, Landerer E, Bendek M, Ávila R, Silva V, Villota C, Araya M, Rivas A, López C, Socias T, Castillo J, Alarcón L, Burzio LO, Burzio V and Villegas J. (2020) Targeting antisense mitochondrial noncoding RNAs induces bladder cancer cell death and inhibition of tumor growth through reduction of survival and invasion factors. Journal of Cancer 11(7): 1780-1791. doi:10.7150/jca.38880

Lobos-González L, Bustos R, Campos A, Silva V, Silva V, Jeldes E, Salomon C, Varas-Godoy M, Cáceres-Verschae A, Duran E, Vera T, Ezquer F, Ezquer M, Burzio VA, Villegas J. Exosomes released upon mitochondrial ASncmtRNA knockdown reduce tumorigenic properties of malignant breast cancer cells. Scientific Reports. 2020;10(1):343. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-57018-1

Pérez-Moreno P, Indo S, Niechi I, Huerta H, Cabello P, Jara L, Aguayo F, Varas-Godoy M, Burzio V, Tapia JC. Endothelin-converting enzyme-1c promotes stem cell traits and aggressiveness in colorectal cancer cells. Mol Oncol. 2020;14(2):347-362. doi:10.1002/1878-0261.12609

Pérez-Moreno, P., Quezada-Meza, C., Chavez-Almarza, C., Niechi, I., Silva-Pavez, E., Trigo-Hidalgo, C., Aguayo, F., Jara, L., Cáceres-Verschae, A., Varas-Godoy, M., Díaz, V. M., García de Herreros, A., Burzio, V. A., & Tapia, J. C. (2020). Phosphorylation of Endothelin-Converting Enzyme-1c at Serines 18 and 20 by CK2 Promotes Aggressiveness Traits in Colorectal Cancer Cells. Frontiers in oncology, 10, 1004.

Barrey E, Burzio V, Dhorne-Pollet S, Eléouët JF, Delmas B (2020). Think Different with RNA Therapy: Can Antisense Oligonucleotides Be Used to Inhibit Replication and Transcription of SARS-Cov-2?, Received: 21 April 2020 / Approved: 23 April 2020 / Online: 23 April 2020

Farfán N, Sanhueza N, Briones M, Burzio LO, Burzio V (2021) Antisense noncoding mitochondrial RNA-2 gives rise to miR-4485-3p by Dicer processing in vitro. Biol Res. 2021 Oct 19;54(1):33. doi: 10.1186/s40659-021-00356-0. PMID: 34666824; PMCID: PMC8527801.

Blanco R, Carrillo-Beltrán D, Muñoz JP, Osorio JC, Tapia JC, Burzio VA, Gallegos I, Calaf GM, Chabay P and Aguayo F (2022) Characterization of High-Risk HPV/EBV Co-Presence in Pre-Malignant Cervical Lesions and Squamous Cell Carcinomas. Microorganisms 2022, 10(5), 888;

Principal investigator

Verónica Burzio

56 2 2 367 2070