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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Molecular characterization of exosome-like vesicles from breast cancer cells

Stefan Kruger1, Zakaria Y Abd Elmageed2, David H Hawke3, Philipp M Wörner1, David A Jansen4, Asim B Abdel-Mageed2, Eckhard U Alt15 and Reza Izadpanah14*

Author Affiliations

1 Applied Stem Cell Laboratory, Heart and Vascular Institute, Department of Medicine, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, 1430 Tulane Avenue, SL-48, Room 9520, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA

2 Department of Urology, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, 1430 Tulane Avenue, SL-48, Room 9520, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA

3 Department of Molecular Pathology, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1430 Tulane Avenue, SL-48, Room 9520, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA

4 Department of Surgery, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, 1430 Tulane Avenue, SL-48, Room 9520, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA

5 Isar Medical Center, Department of Medicine, Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Laboratory, Munich, Germany

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BMC Cancer 2014, 14:44  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-44

Published: 27 January 2014

Abstract

Background

Membrane vesicles released by neoplastic cells into extracellular medium contain potential of carrying arrays of oncogenic molecules including proteins and microRNAs (miRNA). Extracellular (exosome-like) vesicles play a major role in cell-to-cell communication. Thus, the characterization of proteins and miRNAs of exosome-like vesicles is imperative in clarifying intercellular signaling as well as identifying disease markers.

Methods

Exosome-like vesicles were isolated using gradient centrifugation from MCF-7 and MDA-MB 231 cultures. Proteomic profiling of vesicles using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) revealed different protein profiles of exosome-like vesicles derived from MCF-7 cells (MCF-Exo) than those from MDA-MB 231 cells (MDA-Exo).

Results

The protein database search has identified 88 proteins in MDA-Exo and 59 proteins from MCF-Exo. Analysis showed that among all, 27 proteins were common between the two exosome-like vesicle types. Additionally, MDA-Exo contains a higher amount of matrix-metalloproteinases, which might be linked to the enhanced metastatic property of MDA-MB 231 cells. In addition, microarray analysis identified several oncogenic miRNA between the two types vesicles.

Conclusions

Identification of the oncogenic factors in exosome-like vesicles is important since such vesicles could convey signals to non-malignant cells and could have an implication in tumor progression and metastasis.

Keywords:
Breast cancer; Extracellular vesicles; Exosome; Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS); microRNA