Cancer Exosomes Perform Cell-Independent MicroRNA Biogenesis and Promote Tumorigenesis

Exosomes are secreted by all cell types and contain proteins and nucleic acids. Here, researchers from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center report that breast cancer associated exosomes contain microRNAs (miRNAs) associated with the RISC-Loading Complex (RLC) and display cell-independent capacity to process precursor microRNAs (pre-miRNAs) into mature miRNAs. Pre-miRNAs, along with Dicer, AGO2, and TRBP, are present in exosomes of cancer cells. CD43 mediates the accumulation of Dicer specifically in cancer exosomes. Cancer exosomes mediate an efficient and rapid silencing of mRNAs to reprogram the target cell transcriptome. Exosomes derived from cells and sera of patients with breast cancer instigate nontumorigenic epithelial cells to form tumors in a Dicer-dependent manner. These findings offer opportunities for the development of exosomes based biomarkers and therapies.

exosome rna

Melo SA, Sugimoto H, O’Connell JT, Kato N, Villanueva A, Vidal A, Qiu L, Vitkin E, Perelman LT, Melo CA6, Lucci A, Ivan C, Calin GA, Kalluri R. (2014) Cancer Exosomes Perform Cell-Independent MicroRNA Biogenesis and Promote Tumorigenesis. Cancer Cell 26(5):707-21. [abstract]

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