Exosomes are small microvesicles secreted by cells and contain various proteins, mRNA and miRNA. Exosomes are emerging as a key cell-to-cell communication method, which importantly can be used for long-distance transfer of messages from one tissue to another. Our current work identified that breast and lung cancer cells secrete exosomes with unique protein and RNA content. Hypoxia is not only capable of increasing exosome secretion, but also changes the protein and RNA composition.
In this project, exosomes from breast and lung cancer cells will be isolated and analysed for morphology, composition and abundance using state-of-the-art equipment. Exosomes derived from genetically modified cell lines will be identifiable by fluorescence. Exosomes secreted by cancer cells will be traced in animals to determine the tissues the exosomes are accumulating. Tissues and cell lineages will be tested for their ability to take up exosomes, and the functional modifications in the behaviour of the recipient cells will be assessed. Key interests of the laboratory are cells of the innate and adaptive immune response, and myeloid-derived suppressor cells. The impact of cancer cell-derived exosomes on anti-cancer immune responses will be tested in vitro, by activation, tumour killing and ELISA-based methods, and complemented by flow cytometry.
- Suitable for Honours, PhD or clinical students.