Zebrafish Melanoma-Derived Interstitial EVs Are Carriers of ncRNAs That Induce Inflammation

Extracellular Vesicles

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are membranous particles released by all cell types. Their role as functional carrier of bioactive molecules is boosted by cells that actively secrete them in biological fluids or in the intercellular space (interstitial EVs, iEVs). Here we have optimised a method for the isolation and characterization of zebrafish iEVs from whole melanoma tissues. Zebrafish melanoma iEVs are around 140 nm in diameter, as determined by nanoparticle tracking and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis. Western blot analysis shows enrichment for CD63 and Alix in the iEV fraction, but not in melanoma cell lysates. Super resolution and confocal microscopy reveal that purified zebrafish iEVs are green fluorescent protein positive (GFP+), indicating that they integrate the oncogene GFP-HRASV12G used to induce melanoma in this model within their vesicular membrane or luminal content. Analysis of RNA-Seq data found 118 non-coding (nc)RNAs differentially distributed between zebrafish melanoma and their iEVs, with only 17 of them being selectively enriched in iEVs. Among these, the RNA components of RNAses P and MRP, which process ribosomal RNA precursors, mitochondrial RNAs, and some mRNAs, were enriched in zebrafish and human melanoma EVs, but not in iEVs extracted from brain tumours. We found that melanoma iEVs induce an inflammatory response when injected in larvae, with increased expression of interferon responsive genes, and this effect is reproduced by MRP- or P-RNAs injected into circulation. This suggests that zebrafish melanoma iEVs are a source of MRP- and P-RNAs that can trigger inflammation in cells of the innate immune system.

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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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