Transforming growth factor-β-induced secretion of extracellular vesicles from oral cancer cells evokes endothelial barrier instability via endothelial-mesenchymal transition
During metastasis, cancer cells undergo epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in response to transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), which is abundant in the tumor microenvironment, and acquire invasive and metastatic potentials. Metastasis to distant organs requires intravascular invasion and extravasation of cancer cells, which is accompanied by the disruption of the adhesion between vascular endothelial cells. Cancer cell-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) have been suggested to induce the destabilization of normal blood vessels at the metastatic sites. However, the roles of EVs secreted from cancer cells that have undergone EMT in the destabilization of blood vessels remain to be elucidated. In the present study, we characterized EVs secreted by oral cancer cells undergoing TGF-β-induced EMT and elucidated their effects on the characteristics of vascular endothelial cells.
Induction of EMT by TGF-β in human oral cancer cells was assessed using quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) and immunocytochemistry. Oral cancer cell-derived EVs were isolated from the conditioned media of oral cancer cells that were treated with or without TGF-β using ultracentrifugation, and characterized using nanoparticle tracking analysis and immunoblotting. The effects of EVs on human umbilical artery endothelial cells were examined by qRT-PCR, cellular staining, and permeability assay. The significant differences between means were determined using a t-test or one-way analysis of variance with Tukey’s multiple comparisons test.
Oral cancer cells underwent EMT in response to TGF-β as revealed by changes in the expression of epithelial and mesenchymal cell markers at both the RNA and protein levels. Oral cancer cells treated with TGF-β showed increased EV production and altered EV composition when compared with untreated cells. The EVs that originated from cells that underwent EMT by TGF-β induced endothelial-mesenchymal transition, which was characterized by the decreased and increased expression of endothelial and mesenchymal cell markers, respectively. EVs derived from oral cancer cells also induced intercellular gap formation which led to the loss of endothelial cell barrier stability.
EVs released from oral cancer cells that underwent TGF-β-induced EMT target endothelial cells to induce vascular destabilization. Detailed characterization of oral cancer-derived EVs and factors responsible for EV-mediated vascular instability will lead to the development of agents targeting metastasis.
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Tetsuro Watabe, Professor
Department of Biochemistry,
Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences,
Tokyo Medical and Dental University(TMDU)
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