Cell transfer of information via miR-loaded exosomes: a biophysical approach
A new communication route among cells was reported in recent years, via extracellular vesicles and their cargo. Exosomes in particular are attracting increasing interest as privileged mediators of this cell communication route. The exosome-mediated transfer of nucleic acids, especially of microRNAs, is particularly promising for their use both as biomarkers of pathologies and as a therapeutic tool. Here, a simplified model of interaction among cells, microRNAs and vesicles is studied using a biophysical approach. A synthetic and fluorescent microRNA (i.e. miR-1246 conjugated with TAMRA) was selected to model cell communication, monitoring its internalization in cells. The fluorescent miR-1246, either naked or included in synthetic or natural vesicles, was incubated with human breast adenocarcinoma cells (MCF7) for different times. A comparison between this human microRNA and its DNA copy or an exogenous microRNA (from Caenorhabditis elegans) allowed assessment of the specificity of the information transfer through microRNAs, and especially associated with exosomes. The uptake of naked miR-1246 was indeed higher both in terms of number of targeted cells and intensity of fluorescence signal with respect to the other nucleic acids tested. The same occurred with miR-1246 loaded exosomes, evidencing a specific uptake only partially due to the lipidic components and present only when the human microRNA was loaded in exosomes, which were themselves derived from the same MCF7 cells.
Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00249-017-1262-2
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