Extracellular vesicle secretion by leukemia cells in vivo promotes CLL progression by hampering antitumor T-cell responses

Extracellular Vesicles

Small extracellular vesicles (sEV, or exosomes) communication among cells in the tumor microenvironment has been modeled mainly in cell culture, while their relevance in cancer pathogenesis and progression in vivo is less characterized. Here we investigated cancer-microenvironment interactions in vivo using mouse models of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). sEV isolated directly from CLL tissue were enriched in specific miRNA and immune checkpoint ligands. Distinct molecular components of tumor-derived sEV altered CD8+ T-cell transcriptome, proteome and metabolome leading to decreased functions and cell exhaustion ex vivo and in vivo. Using antagomiRs and blocking antibodies, we defined specific cargo-mediated alterations on CD8+ T-cells. Abrogating sEV biogenesis by Rab27a/b knockout dramatically delayed CLL pathogenesis. This phenotype was rescued by exogenous leukemic sEV or CD8+ T-cell depletion. Finally, high expression of sEV-related genes correlated with poor outcomes in CLL patients, suggesting sEV profiling as prognostic tool. In conclusion, sEV shape the immune microenvironment during CLL progression.

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Recent Publications

Cigarette smoke (CS) represents one of the most relevant environmental risk factors for several chronic pathologies. Tissue damage caused by CS exposure is mediated, at least in part, by oxidative stress induced by its toxic and pro-oxidant components. Evidence demonstrates that extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by various cell types exposed to CS extract (CSE) are characterized by altered biochemical cargo and gained pathological properties. In the present study, we evaluated the content of oxidized proteins and phospholipid fatty acid profiles of EVs released by human bronchial epithelial BEAS-2B cells treated with CSE. This specific molecular characterization has hitherto not been performed. After confirmation that CSE reduces viability of BEAS-2B cells and elevates intracellular ROS levels, in a dose-dependent manner, we demonstrated that 24 h exposure at 1% CSE, a concentration that only slight modifies cell viability but increases ROS levels, was able to increase carbonylated protein levels in cells and released EVs. The release of oxidatively modified proteins via EVs might represent a mechanism used by cells to remove toxic proteins in order to avoid their intracellular overloading. Moreover, 1% CSE induced only few changes in the fatty acid asset in BEAS-2B cell membrane phospholipids, whereas several rearrangements were observed in EVs released by CSE-treated cells. The impact of changes in acyl chain composition of CSE-EVs accounted for the increased saturation levels of phospholipids, a membrane parameter that might influence EV stability, uptake and, at least in part, EV-mediated biological effects. The present in vitro study adds new information concerning the biochemical composition of CSE-related EVs, useful to predict their biological effects on target cells. Furthermore, the information regarding the presence of oxidized proteins and the specific membrane features of CSE-related EVs can be useful to define the utilization of circulating EVs as marker for diagnosing of CS-induced lung damage and/or CS-related diseases.

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