Inhibition of the pseudokinase MLKL alters extracellular vesicle release and reduces tumor growth in glioblastoma

Extracellular Vesicles

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are lipid-based nanosized particles that convey biological material from donor to recipient cells. EVs play key roles in glioblastoma progression because glioblastoma stem-like cells (GSCs) release pro-oncogenic, pro-angiogenic, and pro-inflammatory EVs. However, the molecular basis of EV release remains poorly understood. Here, we report the identification of the pseudokinase MLKL, a crucial effector of cell death by necroptosis, as a regulator of the constitutive secretion of EVs in GSCs. We find that genetic, protein, and pharmacological targeting of MLKL alters intracellular trafficking and EV release, and reduces GSC expansion. Nevertheless, this function ascribed to MLKL appears independent of its role during necroptosis. In vivo, pharmacological inhibition of MLKL reduces the tumor burden and the level of plasmatic EVs. This work highlights the necroptosis-independent role of MLKL in vesicle release and suggests that interfering with EVs is a promising therapeutic option to sensitize glioblastoma cells.

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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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