Publications by authors named "Alin Rai"

23 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Proteomic dissection of large extracellular vesicle surfaceome unravels interactive surface platform.

J Extracell Vesicles 2021 11;10(13):e12164

Molecular Proteomics, Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, 3004, Australia.

The extracellular vesicle (EV) surface proteome (surfaceome) acts as a fundamental signalling gateway by bridging intra- and extracellular signalling networks, dictates EVs' capacity to communicate and interact with their environment, and is a source of potential disease biomarkers and therapeutic targets. However, our understanding of surface protein composition of large EVs (L-EVs, 100-800 nm, mean 310 nm, ATP5F1A, ATP5F1B, DHX9, GOT2, HSPA5, HSPD1, MDH2, STOML2), a major EV-subtype that are distinct from small EVs (S-EVs, 30-150 nm, mean 110 nm, CD44, CD63, CD81, CD82, CD9, PDCD6IP, SDCBP, TSG101) remains limited. Using a membrane impermeant derivative of biotin to capture surface proteins coupled to mass spectrometry analysis, we show that out of 4143 proteins identified in density-gradient purified L-EVs (1.07-1.11 g/mL, from multiple cancer cell lines), 961 proteins are surface accessible. The surface molecular diversity of L-EVs include (i) bona fide plasma membrane anchored proteins (cluster of differentiation, transporters, receptors and GPI anchored proteins implicated in cell-cell and cell-ECM interactions); and (ii) membrane surface-associated proteins (that are released by divalent ion chelator EDTA) implicated in actin cytoskeleton regulation, junction organization, glycolysis and platelet activation. Ligand-receptor analysis of L-EV surfaceome (e.g., ITGAV/ITGB1) uncovered interactome spanning 172 experimentally verified cognate binding partners (e.g., ANGPTL3, PLG, and VTN) with highest tissue enrichment for liver. Assessment of biotin inaccessible L-EV proteome revealed enrichment for proteins belonging to COPI/II-coated ER/Golgi-derived vesicles and mitochondria. Additionally, despite common surface proteins identified in L-EVs and S-EVs, our data reveals surfaceome heterogeneity between the two EV-subtype. Collectively, our study provides critical insights into diverse proteins operating at the interactive platform of L-EVs and molecular leads for future studies seeking to decipher L-EV heterogeneity and function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jev2.12164DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8612312PMC
November 2021

The proteomes of endometrial stromal cell-derived extracellular vesicles following a decidualizing stimulus define the cells' potential for decidualization success.

Mol Hum Reprod 2021 Sep;27(10)

Centre for Reproductive Health, Hudson Institute of Medical Research, Clayton, Victoria, Australia.

Adequate endometrial stromal cell (ESC) decidualization is vital for endometrial health. Given the importance of extracellular vesicles (EVs) in intercellular communication, we investigated how their protein landscape is reprogrammed and dysregulated during decidual response. Small EVs (sEVs) from human ESC-conditioned media at Day-2 and -14 following decidual stimuli were grouped as well- (WD) or poorly decidualized (PD) based on their prolactin secretion and subjected to mass spectrometry-based quantitative proteomics. On Day 2, in PD- versus WD-ESC-sEVs, 17 sEV- proteins were down-regulated (C5, C6; complement/coagulation cascades, and SERPING1, HRG; platelet degranulation and fibrinolysis) and 39 up-regulated (FLNA, COL1A1; focal adhesion, ENO1, PKM; glycolysis/gluconeogenesis, and RAP1B, MSN; leukocyte transendothelial migration). On Day 14, in PD- versus WD-ESC-sEVs, FLNA was down-regulated while 21 proteins were up-regulated involved in complement/coagulation cascades (C3, C6), platelet degranulation (SERPINA4, ITIH4), B-cell receptor signalling and innate immune response (immunoglobulins). Changes from Days 2 to 14 suggested a subsequent response in PD-ESC-sEVs with 89 differentially expressed proteins mostly involved in complement and coagulation cascades (C3, C6, C5), but no change in WD-ESC-sEVs ESC. Poor decidualization was also associated with loss of crucial sEV-proteins for cell adhesion and invasion (ITGA5, PFN1), glycolysis (ALDOA, PGK1) and cytoskeletal reorganization (VCL, RAC1). Overall, this study indicates varied ESC response even prior to decidualization and provides insight into sEVs-proteomes as a benchmark of well-decidualized ESC. It shows distinct variation in sEV-protein composition depending on the ESC decidual response that is critical for embryo implantation, enabling and limiting trophoblast invasion during placentation and sensing a healthy embryo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/molehr/gaab057DOI Listing
September 2021

Cancer stem cell marker DCLK1 reprograms small extracellular vesicles toward migratory phenotype in gastric cancer cells.

Proteomics 2021 07 28;21(13-14):e2000098. Epub 2021 May 28.

Cancer Inflammation Laboratory, Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia.

Doublecortin-like kinase 1 (DCLK1) is a putative cancer stem cell marker, a promising diagnostic and prognostic maker for malignant tumors and a proposed driver gene for gastric cancer (GC). DCLK1 overexpression in a majority of solid cancers correlates with lymph node metastases, advanced disease and overall poor-prognosis. In cancer cells, DCLK1 expression has been shown to promote epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), driving disruption of cell-cell adhesion, cell migration and invasion. Here, we report that DCLK1 influences small extracellular vesicle (sEV/exosome) biogenesis in a kinase-dependent manner. sEVs isolated from DCLK1 overexpressing human GC cell line MKN1 (MKN1 -sEVs), promote the migration of parental (non-transfected) MKN1 cells (MKN1 ). Quantitative proteome analysis of MKN1 -sEVs revealed enrichment in migratory and adhesion regulators (STRAP, CORO1B, BCAM, COL3A, CCN1) in comparison to MKN1 -sEVs. Moreover, using DCLK1-IN-1, a specific small molecule inhibitor of DCLK1, we reversed the increase in sEV size and concentration in contrast to other EV subtypes, as well as kinase-dependent cargo selection of proteins involved in EV biogenesis (KTN1, CHMP1A, MYO1G) and migration and adhesion processes (STRAP, CCN1). Our findings highlight a specific role of DCLK1-kinase dependent cargo selection for sEVs and shed new light on its role as a regulator of signaling in gastric tumorigenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pmic.202000098DOI Listing
July 2021

Proteome characterisation of extracellular vesicles isolated from heart.

Proteomics 2021 07 6;21(13-14):e2100026. Epub 2021 May 6.

Department of Biochemistry and Genetics, La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science (LIMS), La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Cardiac intercellular communication is critical for heart function and often dysregulated in cardiovascular diseases. While cardiac extracellular vesicles (cEVs) are emerging mediators of signalling, their isolation remains a technical challenge hindering our understanding of cEV protein composition. Here, we utilised Langendorff-collagenase-based enzymatic perfusion and differential centrifugation to isolate cEVs from mouse heart (yield 3-6 μg/heart). cEVs are ∼200 nm, express classical EV markers (Cd63/81/9 , Tsg101 , Pdcd6ip/Alix ), and are depleted of blood (Alb/Fga/Hba) and cardiac damage markers (Mb, Tnnt2, Ldhb). Comparison with mechanically-derived EVs revealed greater detection of EV markers and decreased cardiac damage contaminants. Mass spectrometry-based proteomic profiling revealed 1721 proteins in cEVs, implicated in proteasomal and autophagic proteostasis, glycolysis, and fatty acid metabolism; essential functions often disrupted in cardiac pathologies. There was striking enrichment of 942 proteins in cEVs compared to mouse heart tissue - implicated in EV biogenesis, antioxidant activity, and lipid transport, suggesting active cargo selection and specialised function. Interestingly, cEVs contain marker proteins for cardiomyocytes, cardiac progenitors, B-cells, T-cells, macrophages, smooth muscle cells, endothelial cells, and cardiac fibroblasts, suggesting diverse cellular origin. We present a method of cEV isolation and provide insight into potential functions, enabling future studies into EV roles in cardiac physiology and disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pmic.202100026DOI Listing
July 2021

Proteome reprogramming of endometrial epithelial cells by human trophectodermal small extracellular vesicles reveals key insights into embryo implantation.

Proteomics 2021 07 6;21(13-14):e2000210. Epub 2021 May 6.

Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Molecular Proteomics, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Embryo implantation into the receptive endometrium is critical in pregnancy establishment, initially requiring reciprocal signalling between outer layer of the blastocyst (trophectoderm cells) and endometrial epithelium; however, factors regulating this crosstalk remain poorly understood. Although endometrial extracellular vesicles (EVs) are known to signal to the embryo during implantation, the role of embryo-derived EVs remains largely unknown. Here, we provide a comprehensive proteomic characterisation of a major class of EVs, termed small EVs (sEVs), released by human trophectoderm cells (Tsc-sEVs) and their capacity to reprogram protein landscape of endometrial epithelium in vitro. Highly purified Tsc-sEVs (30-200 nm, ALIX , TSG101 , CD9/63/81 ) were enriched in known players of implantation (LIFR, ICAM1, TAGLN2, WNT5A, FZD7, ROR2, PRICKLE2), antioxidant activity (SOD1, PRDX1/4/6), tissue integrity (EZR, RAC1, RHOA, TNC), and focal adhesions (FAK, ITGA2/V, ITGB1/3). Functionally, Tsc-sEVs were taken up by endometrial cells, altered transepithelial electrical resistance, and upregulated proteins implicated in embryo attachment (ITGA2/V, ITGB1/3), immune regulation (CD59, CD276, LGALS3), and antioxidant activity (GPX1/3/4, PRDX1/2/4/5/6): processes that are critical for successful implantation. Collectively, we provide critical insights into Tsc-sEV-mediated regulation of endometrial function that contributes to our understanding of the molecular basis of implantation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pmic.202000210DOI Listing
July 2021

Secreted midbody remnants are a class of extracellular vesicles molecularly distinct from exosomes and microparticles.

Commun Biol 2021 03 25;4(1):400. Epub 2021 Mar 25.

Department of Biochemistry and Genetics, La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science (LIMS), La Trobe University, Melbourne, VIC, 3086, Australia.

During the final stages of cell division, newly-formed daughter cells remain connected by a thin intercellular bridge containing the midbody (MB), a microtubule-rich organelle responsible for cytokinetic abscission. Following cell division the MB is asymmetrically inherited by one daughter cell where it persists as a midbody remnant (MB-R). Accumulating evidence shows MB-Rs are secreted (sMB-Rs) into the extracellular medium and engulfed by neighbouring non-sister cells. While much is known about intracellular MB-Rs, sMB-Rs are poorly understood. Here, we report the large-scale purification and biochemical characterisation of sMB-Rs released from colon cancer cells, including profiling of their proteome using mass spectrometry. We show sMB-Rs are an abundant class of membrane-encapsulated extracellular vesicle (200-600 nm) enriched in core cytokinetic proteins and molecularly distinct from exosomes and microparticles. Functional dissection of sMB-Rs demonstrated that they are engulfed by, and accumulate in, quiescent fibroblasts where they promote cellular transformation and an invasive phenotype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-01882-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7994562PMC
March 2021

Transglutaminase-2, RNA-binding proteins and mitochondrial proteins selectively traffic to MDCK cell-derived microvesicles following H-Ras-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition.

Proteomics 2021 07 19;21(13-14):e2000221. Epub 2021 Mar 19.

Department of Biochemistry and Genetics, La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) describes an evolutionary conserved morphogenic process defined by loss of epithelial characteristics and acquisition of mesenchymal phenotype, and altered patterns of intercellular communication, leading to functional changes in cell migration and invasion. In this regard, we have previously reported that oncogenic H-Ras induced EMT in Madin-Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK) cells (21D1 cells) trigger changes in the protein distribution pattern in cells, exosomes, and soluble protein factors (secretome) which modulate the tumor microenvironment. Here, we report that shed microvesicles (also termed microparticles/ectosomes) secreted from MDCK cells following oncogenic H-Ras-induced EMT (21D1-sMVs) are biochemically distinct from exosomes and parental MDCK-sMVs. The protein spectra of RNA-binding proteins and mitochondrial proteins in 21D1-sMVs differ profoundly compared to those of exosomes, likewise proteins associated with suppression of anoikis. We show that 21D1-sMVs promote cell migration, confer anchorage-independent growth, and induce EMT in parental MDCK cells. An unexpected and novel finding was the selective sorting of tissue transglutaminase-2 (TGM2) into 21D1-sMVs; there was no evidence of TGM2 in MDCK-sMVs. Prior treatment of 21D1-sMVs with neutralizing anti-TGM2 or anti-FN1 antibodies attenuates the invasive capability of fibroblasts. These finding suggest that microvesicle-associated TGM2 may play an important contributory role in the EMT process and warrants further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pmic.202000221DOI Listing
July 2021

Proteomic profiling of human uterine extracellular vesicles reveal dynamic regulation of key players of embryo implantation and fertility during menstrual cycle.

Proteomics 2021 07 19;21(13-14):e2000211. Epub 2021 Mar 19.

Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Molecular Proteomics, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Endometrial extracellular vesicles (EVs) are emerging as important players in reproductive biology. However, how their proteome is regulated throughout the menstrual cycle is not known. Such information can provide novel insights into biological processes critical for embryo development, implantation, and successful pregnancy. Using mass spectrometry-based quantitative proteomics, we show that small EVs (sEVs) isolated from uterine lavage of fertile women (UL-sEV), compared to infertile women, are laden with proteins implicated in antioxidant activity (SOD1, GSTO1, MPO, CAT). Functionally, sEVs derived from endometrial cells enhance antioxidant function in trophectoderm cells. Moreover, there was striking enrichment of invasion-related proteins (LGALS1/3, S100A4/11) in fertile UL-sEVs in the secretory (estrogen plus progesterone-driven, EP) versus proliferative (estrogen-driven, E) phase, with several players downregulated in infertile UL-sEVs. Consistent with this, sEVs from EP- versus E-primed endometrial epithelial cells promote invasion of trophectoderm cells. Interestingly, UL-sEVs from fertile versus infertile women carry known players/predictors of embryo implantation (PRDX2, IDHC), endometrial receptivity (S100A4, FGB, SERPING1, CLU, ANXA2), and implantation success (CAT, YWHAE, PPIA), highlighting their potential to inform regarding endometrial status/pregnancy outcomes. Thus, this study provides novel insights into proteome reprograming of sEVs and soluble secretome in uterine fluid, with potential to enhance embryo implantation and hence fertility.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pmic.202000211DOI Listing
July 2021

A Protocol for Isolation, Purification, Characterization, and Functional Dissection of Exosomes.

Methods Mol Biol 2021 ;2261:105-149

Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are membrane-enclosed vesicles released by cells. They carry proteins, nucleic acids, and metabolites which can be transferred to a recipient cell, locally or at a distance, to elicit a functional response. Since their discovery over 30 years ago, the functional repertoire of EVs in both physiological (e.g., organ morphogenesis, embryo implantation) and pathological (e.g., cancer, neurodegeneration) conditions has cemented their crucial role in intercellular communication. Moreover, because the cargo encapsulated within circulating EVs remains protected from degradation, their diagnostic as well as therapeutic (such as drug delivery tool) applications have garnered vested interest. Global efforts have been made to purify EV subtypes from biological fluids and in vitro cell culture media using a variety of strategies and techniques, with a major focus on EVs of endocytic origin called exosomes (30-150 nm in size). Given that the secretome comprises of soluble secreted proteins, protein aggregates, RNA granules, and EV subtypes (such as exosomes, shed microvesicles, apoptotic bodies), it is imperative to purify exosomes to homogeneity if we are to perform biochemical and biophysical characterization and, importantly, functional dissection. Besides understanding the composition of EV subtypes, defining molecular bias of how they reprogram target cells also remains of paramount importance in this area of active research. Here, we outline a systematic "how to" protocol (along with useful insights/tips) to obtain highly purified exosomes and perform their biophysical and biochemical characterization. This protocol employs a mass spectrometry-based proteomics approach to characterize the protein composition of exosomes. We also provide insights on different isolation strategies and their usefulness in various downstream applications. We outline protocols for lipophilic labeling of exosomes to study uptake by a recipient cell, investigating cellular reprogramming using proteomics and studying functional response to exosomes in the Transwell-Matrigel™ Invasion assay.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-0716-1186-9_9DOI Listing
March 2021

Exosomes Derived from the Human Primary Colorectal Cancer Cell Line SW480 Orchestrate Fibroblast-Led Cancer Invasion.

Proteomics 2020 07;20(14):e2000016

Department of Biochemistry and Genetics, La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, 3086, Australia.

In localized tumors, basement membrane (BM) prevents invasive outgrowth of tumor cells into surrounding tissues. When carcinomas become invasive, cancer cells either degrade BM or reprogram stromal fibroblasts to breach BM barrier and lead invasion of cancer cells into surrounding tissues in a process called fibroblast-led invasion. However, tumor-derived factors orchestrating fibroblast-led invasion remain poorly understood. Here it is shown that although early-stage primary colorectal adenocarcinoma (SW480) cells are themselves unable to invade Matrigel matrix, they secrete exosomes that reprogram normal fibroblasts to acquire de novo capacity to invade matrix and lead invasion of SW480 cells. Strikingly, cancer cells follow leading fibroblasts as collective epithelial-clusters, thereby circumventing need for epithelial to mesenchymal transition, a key event associated with invasion. Moreover, acquisition of pro-invasive phenotype by fibroblasts treated with SW480-derived exosomes relied on exosome-mediated MAPK pathway activation. Mass spectrometry-based protein profiling reveals that cancer exosomes upregulate fibroblasts proteins implicated in focal adhesion (ITGA2/A6/AV, ITGB1/B4/B5, EGFR, CRK), regulators of actin cytoskeleton (RAC1, ARF1, ARPC3, CYFIP1, NCKAP1, ICAM1, ERM complex), and signalling pathways (MAPK, Rap1, RAC1, Ras) important in pro-invasive remodeling of extracellular matrix. Blocking tumor exosome-mediated signaling to fibroblasts therefore represents an attractive therapeutic strategy in restraining tumors by perturbing stroma-driven invasive outgrowth.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pmic.202000016DOI Listing
July 2020

Human Endometrial Extracellular Vesicles Functionally Prepare Human Trophectoderm Model for Implantation: Understanding Bidirectional Maternal-Embryo Communication.

Proteomics 2019 12 30;19(23):e1800423. Epub 2019 Oct 30.

Molecular Proteomics, Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, VIC, 3004, Australia.

Embryo implantation into maternal endometrium is critical for initiation and establishment of pregnancy, requiring developmental synchrony between endometrium and blastocyst. However, factors regulating human endometrial-embryo cross talk and facilitate implantation remain largely unknown. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are emerging as important mediators of this process. Here, a trophectoderm spheroid-based in vitro model mimicking the pre-implantation human embryo is used to recapitulate important functional aspects of blastocyst implantation. Functionally, human endometrial EVs, derived from hormonally treated cells synchronous with implantation, are readily internalized by trophectoderm cells, regulating adhesive and invasive capacity of human trophectoderm spheroids. To gain molecular insights into mechanisms underpinning endometrial EV-mediated enhancement of implantation, quantitative proteomics reveal critical alterations in trophectoderm cellular adhesion networks (cell adhesion molecule binding, cell-cell adhesion mediator activity, and cell adherens junctions) and metabolic and gene expression networks, and the soluble secretome from human trophectodermal spheroids. Importantly, transfer of endometrial EV cargo proteins to trophectoderm to mediate changes in trophectoderm function is demonstrated. This is highlighted by correlation among endometrial EVs, the trophectodermal proteome following EV uptake, and EV-mediated trophectodermal cellular proteome, important for implantation. This work provides an understanding into molecular mechanisms of endometrial EV-mediated regulation of human trophectoderm functions-fundamental in understanding human endometrium-embryo signaling during implantation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pmic.201800423DOI Listing
December 2019

Surfaceome of Exosomes Secreted from the Colorectal Cancer Cell Line SW480: Peripheral and Integral Membrane Proteins Analyzed by Proteolysis and TX114.

Proteomics 2019 04;19(8):e1700453

Department of Biochemistry and Genetics, La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science (LIMS), La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, 3086, Australia.

Exosomes are important bidirectional cell-cell communicators in normal and pathological physiology. Although exosomal surface membrane proteins (surfaceome) enable target cell recognition and are an attractive source of disease marker, they are poorly understood. Here, a comprehensive surfaceome analysis of exosomes secreted by the colorectal cancer cell line SW480 is described. Sodium carbonate extraction/Triton X-114 phase separation and mild proteolysis (proteinase K, PK) of intact exosomes is used in combination with label-free quantitative mass spectrometry to identify 1025 exosomal proteins of which 208 are predicted to be integral membrane proteins (IMPs) according to TOPCONS and GRAVY scores. Interrogation of UniProt database-annotated proteins reveals 124 predicted peripherally-associated membrane proteins (PMPs). Surprisingly, 108 RNA-binding proteins (RBPs)/RNA nucleoproteins (RNPs) are found in the carbonate/Triton X-114 insoluble fraction. Mild PK treatment of SW480-GFP labeled exosomes reveal 58 proteolytically cleaved IMPs and 14 exoplasmic PMPs (e.g., CLU/GANAB/LGALS3BP). Interestingly, 18 RBPs/RNPs (e.g., EIF3L/RPL6) appear bound to the outer exosome surface since they are sensitive to PK proteolysis. The finding that outer surface-localized miRNA Let-7a-5p is RNase A-resistant, but degraded by a combination of RNase A/PK treatment suggests exosomal miRNA species also reside on the outer surface of exosomes bound to RBPs/RNPs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pmic.201700453DOI Listing
April 2019

Distinct shed microvesicle and exosome microRNA signatures reveal diagnostic markers for colorectal cancer.

PLoS One 2019 4;14(1):e0210003. Epub 2019 Jan 4.

Department of Biochemistry and Genetics, La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science (LIMS), La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.

Extracellular vesicle (EV) microRNAs are of major interest as potential diagnostic biomarkers in all cancer types. This study aims to identify miRNA profiles of shed microvesicles (sMVs) and exosomes (Exos) secreted from the isogenic colorectal cancer (CRC) cell lines SW480 and SW620 and evaluate their ability to predict CRC. Deep sequencing of miRNAs in parental cell lysates (CLs) and highly-purified sMVs and Exos was performed. We focused on miRNAs enriched in EVs and dysregulated miRNAs in metastatic cells (SW620) relative to primary cancer cells (SW480). We investigated the ability of EV miRNA signatures to predict CRC tumours using 594 tumours (representing different pathological stages) and 11 normal samples obtained from TCGA. In SW480 and SW620 cells we identified 345 miRNAs, of which 61 and 73 were upregulated and downregulated in SW620-CLs compared to SW480-CLs, respectively. Selective distribution of cellular miRNAs into EVs results in distinct miRNA signatures for sMVs and Exos in each cell line. Cross cell line comparisons of EV miRNA profiles reveal a subset of miRNAs critical in CRC progression from primary carcinoma to metastasis. Many miRNAs non-detectable (<5 TPM) in CLs were significantly enriched (>1000 TPM) in secreted EVs. Strikingly, miR-7641 which is non-detectable in SW480-CL but upregulated in SW620-CL is highly enriched in EVs secreted from both cell lines. Pearson correlation analysis demonstrated that EV miRNA profiles can be used to predict CRC tumours with ~96% accuracy. Our findings suggest that EV miRNA profiles from CRC cell lines may allow prediction of CRC tumours, and that miR-7641 may serve as an attractive candidate for the specific, non-invasive diagnosis and prognosis of CRC.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0210003PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6319712PMC
September 2019

Exosomes Derived from Human Primary and Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Cells Contribute to Functional Heterogeneity of Activated Fibroblasts by Reprogramming Their Proteome.

Proteomics 2019 04 31;19(8):e1800148. Epub 2019 Jan 31.

Department of Biochemistry and Genetics, La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are a heterogeneous population of activated fibroblasts that constitute a dominant cellular component of the tumor microenvironment (TME) performing distinct functions. Here, the role of tumor-derived exosomes (Exos) in activating quiescent fibroblasts into distinct functional subtypes is investigated. Proteomic profiling and functional dissection reveal that early- (SW480) and late-stage (SW620) colorectal cancer (CRC) cell-derived Exos both activated normal quiescent fibroblasts (α-SMA , CAV , FAP , VIM ) into CAF-like fibroblasts (α-SMA , CAV , FAP , VIM ). Fibroblasts activated by early-stage cancer-exosomes (SW480-Exos) are highly pro-proliferative and pro-angiogenic and display elevated expression of pro-angiogenic (IL8, RAB10, NDRG1) and pro-proliferative (SA1008, FFPS) proteins. In contrast, fibroblasts activated by late-stage cancer-exosomes (SW620-Exos) display a striking ability to invade through extracellular matrix through upregulation of pro-invasive regulators of membrane protrusion (PDLIM1, MYO1B) and matrix-remodeling proteins (MMP11, EMMPRIN, ADAM10). Conserved features of Exos-mediated fibroblast activation include enhanced ECM secretion (COL1A1, Tenascin-C/X), oncogenic transformation, and metabolic reprogramming (downregulation of CAV-1, upregulation of glycogen metabolism (GAA), amino acid biosynthesis (SHMT2, IDH2) and membrane transporters of glucose (GLUT1), lactate (MCT4), and amino acids (SLC1A5/3A5)). This study highlights the role of primary and metastatic CRC tumor-derived Exos in generating phenotypically and functionally distinct subsets of CAFs that may facilitate tumor progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pmic.201800148DOI Listing
April 2019

Proteomic profiling reveals key cancer progression modulators in shed microvesicles released from isogenic human primary and metastatic colorectal cancer cell lines.

Biochim Biophys Acta Proteins Proteom 2019 12 29;1867(12):140171. Epub 2018 Nov 29.

Department of Biochemistry and Genetics, La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria 3086, Australia. Electronic address:

Extracellular vesicles comprise two main classes - exosomes and shed microvesicles (sMVs). Whilst much is known about exosome cargo content and functionality, sMVs are poorly understood. Here, we describe the large-scale purification of sMVs released from primary (SW480) and metastatic (SW620) human isogenic colorectal cancer (CRC) cell lines using a combination of differential ultracentrifugation and isopycnic iodixanol density centrifugation. The yield of SW480-sMVs and SW620-sMVs was 0.75 mg and 0.80 mg, respectively. Both SW480-/SW620-sMVs are heterogeneous in size (100-600 nm diameter) and exhibit identical buoyant densities (1.10 g/mL). In contrast to exosomes, sMVs are ALIX, TSG101, CD63 and CD9. Quantitative mass spectrometry identified 1295 and 1300 proteins in SW480-sMVs and SW620-sMVs, respectively. Gene Ontology enrichment analysis identified 'cell adhesion' (CDH1, OCLN, CTN families), 'signalling pathway' (KRAS, NRAS, MAPK1, MAP2K1), and 'translation/RNA related' processes (EIF, RPL, HNRNP families) in both sMV types. Strikingly, SW480- and SW620-sMVs exhibit distinct protein signatures - SW480-sMVs being enriched in ITGA/B, ANXA1, CLDN7, CD44 and EGFR/NOTCH signalling networks, while SW620-sMVs are enriched in PRKCA, MACC1, FGFR4 and MTOR/MARCKS signalling networks. Both SW480- and SW620-sMVs are taken up by NIH3T3 fibroblasts resulting in similar cell invasion capability. This study provides, for the first time, molecular insights into sMVs and CRC biology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbapap.2018.11.008DOI Listing
December 2019

Extracellular vesicles in cancer - implications for future improvements in cancer care.

Nat Rev Clin Oncol 2018 10;15(10):617-638

Department of Biochemistry and Genetics, La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

The sustained growth, invasion, and metastasis of cancer cells depend upon bidirectional cell-cell communication within complex tissue environments. Such communication predominantly involves the secretion of soluble factors by cancer cells and/or stromal cells within the tumour microenvironment (TME), although these cell types have also been shown to export membrane-encapsulated particles containing regulatory molecules that contribute to cell-cell communication. These particles are known as extracellular vesicles (EVs) and include species of exosomes and shed microvesicles. EVs carry molecules such as oncoproteins and oncopeptides, RNA species (for example, microRNAs, mRNAs, and long non-coding RNAs), lipids, and DNA fragments from donor to recipient cells, initiating profound phenotypic changes in the TME. Emerging evidence suggests that EVs have crucial roles in cancer development, including pre-metastatic niche formation and metastasis. Cancer cells are now recognized to secrete more EVs than their nonmalignant counterparts, and these particles can be isolated from bodily fluids. Thus, EVs have strong potential as blood-based or urine-based biomarkers for the diagnosis, prognostication, and surveillance of cancer. In this Review, we discuss the biophysical properties and physiological functions of EVs, particularly their pro-metastatic effects, and highlight the utility of EVs for the development of cancer diagnostics and therapeutics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41571-018-0036-9DOI Listing
October 2018

Extracellular vesicles: their role in cancer biology and epithelial-mesenchymal transition.

Biochem J 2017 01;474(1):21-45

Department of Biochemistry and Genetics, La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria 3086, Australia.

Cell-cell communication is critical across an assortment of physiological and pathological processes. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) represent an integral facet of intercellular communication largely through the transfer of functional cargo such as proteins, messenger RNAs (mRNAs), microRNA (miRNAs), DNAs and lipids. EVs, especially exosomes and shed microvesicles, represent an important delivery medium in the tumour micro-environment through the reciprocal dissemination of signals between cancer and resident stromal cells to facilitate tumorigenesis and metastasis. An important step of the metastatic cascade is the reprogramming of cancer cells from an epithelial to mesenchymal phenotype (epithelial-mesenchymal transition, EMT), which is associated with increased aggressiveness, invasiveness and metastatic potential. There is now increasing evidence demonstrating that EVs released by cells undergoing EMT are reprogrammed (protein and RNA content) during this process. This review summarises current knowledge of EV-mediated functional transfer of proteins and RNA species (mRNA, miRNA, long non-coding RNA) between cells in cancer biology and the EMT process. An in-depth understanding of EVs associated with EMT, with emphasis on molecular composition (proteins and RNA species), will provide fundamental insights into cancer biology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1042/BCJ20160006DOI Listing
January 2017

Transcriptome and long noncoding RNA sequencing of three extracellular vesicle subtypes released from the human colon cancer LIM1863 cell line.

Sci Rep 2016 12 5;6:38397. Epub 2016 Dec 5.

Department of Biochemistry and Genetics, La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science (LIMS), La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Previously we reported that LIM1863 colorectal cancer (CRC) cells secrete three distinct extracellular vesicle subtypes - two subpopulations of exosomes (apical EpCAM-Exos and basolateral A33-Exos) and shed microvesicles (sMVs) - with distinct protein and miRNA signatures. Here, we extend our omics approach to understand the fundamental role of LIM1863-derived EVs by performing a comprehensive analysis of their mRNAs and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) using RNA-Seq. We show that 2,389 mRNAs, 317 pseudogene transcripts, 1,028 lncRNAs and 206 short non-coding RNAs selectively distributed to (i.e., are enriched in) LIM1863 EVs, relative to the parent cell. An Ensembl/UniProtKB analysis revealed 1,937 mRNAs encode canonical proteins, 348 isoforms (including splice-variant proteins), and 119 'missing proteins' (i.e., annotated in Ensembl but not UniProtKB). Further dissection of our protein/RNA data revealed that 6/151 observed RNA binding proteins have the potential to interact with ~75% of EV-enriched RNAs. Intriguingly, the co-existence of U1 and U2 ribonucleoproteins and their cognate snRNAs in LIM1863 EVs suggests a possible association of CRC EVs with recipient cell splicing events. Our data reveal several potential lncRNA CRC biomarkers and novel splicing/fusion genes that, collectively, will advance our understanding of EV biology in CRC and accelerate the development of EV-based diagnostics and therapeutics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep38397DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5137021PMC
December 2016

Proteomic insights into extracellular vesicle biology - defining exosomes and shed microvesicles.

Expert Rev Proteomics 2017 01 28;14(1):69-95. Epub 2016 Nov 28.

a Department of Biochemistry and Genetics, La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science , La Trobe University , Melbourne , Australia.

Introduction: Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are critical mediators of intercellular communication, capable of regulating the transcriptional landscape of target cells through horizontal transmission of biological information, such as proteins, lipids, and RNA species. This capability highlights their potential as novel targets for disease intervention. Areas covered: This review focuses on the emerging importance of discovery proteomics (high-throughput, unbiased quantitative protein identification) and targeted proteomics (hypothesis-driven quantitative protein subset analysis) mass spectrometry (MS)-based strategies in EV biology, especially exosomes and shed microvesicles. Expert commentary: Recent advances in MS hardware, workflows, and informatics provide comprehensive, quantitative protein profiling of EVs and EV-treated target cells. This information is seminal to understanding the role of EV subtypes in cellular crosstalk, especially when integrated with other 'omics disciplines, such as RNA analysis (e.g., mRNA, ncRNA). Moreover, high-throughput MS-based proteomics promises to provide new avenues in identifying novel markers for detection, monitoring, and therapeutic intervention of disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14789450.2017.1260450DOI Listing
January 2017

YBX1/YB-1 induces partial EMT and tumourigenicity through secretion of angiogenic factors into the extracellular microenvironment.

Oncotarget 2015 May;6(15):13718-30

Department of Molecular Science, La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) describes a morphogenetic program which confers mesenchymal cell properties, such as reduced cell-cell contact and increased cell migration and invasion, to epithelial cells. Here we investigate the role of the pleiotropic transcription/splicing factor and RNA-binding protein nuclease-sensitive element-binding protein 1 (YBX1/YB-1) in increasing the oncogenic potential of epithelial MDCK cells. Characterization of MDCK cells expressing YBX1 (MDCKYBX1 cells) revealed a partial EMT phenotype, including cytosolic relocalization of E-cadherin, increased cell scattering, and anchorage-independent growth. Subcutaneous injection of parental MDCK cells into NOD/SCID mice did not form tumours. Critically, MDCKYBX1 cells established viable tumour xenografts, and immuno-histochemical staining indicated murine vascularization by CD31+ endothelial cells. We analysed the total secretome (containing soluble and extracellular vesicles) of MDCKYBX1 cells to investigate regulation of the tumour microenvironment. YBX1 expression elevated release of secreted factors known to enhance angiogenesis (TGF-β, CSF-1, NGF, VGF, ADAM9 and ADAM17), compared to MDCK cells. Importantly, treatment with MDCKYBX1 cell-derived secretome increased recipient 2F-2B endothelial cell motility. This defines YBX1 as an oncogenic enhancer that can regulate tumour angiogenesis via release of secreted modulators into the extracellular microenvironment.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4537044PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.3764DOI Listing
May 2015

Highly-purified exosomes and shed microvesicles isolated from the human colon cancer cell line LIM1863 by sequential centrifugal ultrafiltration are biochemically and functionally distinct.

Methods 2015 Oct 16;87:11-25. Epub 2015 Apr 16.

Department of Biochemistry, La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science, La Trobe University, Australia. Electronic address:

Secretion and exchange of extracellular vesicles (EVs) by most cell types is emerging as a fundamental biological process. Although much is known about EVs, there is still a lack of definition as to how many naturally occurring EV subtypes there are and how their properties and functionalities might differ. This vexing issue is critical if EVs are to be fully harnessed for therapeutic applications. To address this question we have developed and describe here a sequential centrifugal ultrafiltration (SCUF) method to examine, in an unbiased manner, what EV subtypes are released in vitro into cell culture medium using the human colon carcinoma cell line LIM1863 as a model system. Using the culture medium from ∼7.2×10(9) LIM1863 cells, SCUF was performed using hydrophilic PVDF membranes with low protein binding properties (Millipore Durapore™ Ultrafree-CL filters with 0.1, 0.22, 0.45 and 0.65 μm pore size). EV particle sizing was measured using both dynamic light scattering and cryo-electron microscopy. Comparative proteome profiling was performed by GeLC-MS/MS and qualitative protein differences between EV subtypes determined by label-free spectral counting. The results showed essentially two EV subtypes; one subtype (fraction Fn1) comprised heterogeneous EVs with particle diameters of 30-1300 nm, the other (fraction Fn5) being homogeneous EVs of 30-100 nm diameter; based on cryo-EM both EV subtypes were round shaped. Western blot analysis showed Fn5 (SCUF-Exos) contained traditional exosome marker proteins (Alix(+), TSG101(+), CD81(+), CD63(+)), while Fn1 (SCUF-sMVs) lacked these protein markers. These findings were consistent with sMVs isolated by differential centrifugation (10,000 g, DC-sMVs) and exosomes (100,000 g EVs depleted of 10,000 g material). The buoyant density of sMVs determined by OptiPrep™ density gradient centrifugation was 1.18-1.19 g/mL and exosomes 1.10-1.11 g/mL. Comparative protein profiling of SCUF-Exos/-sMVs revealed 354 and 606 unambiguous protein identifications, respectively, with 256 proteins in common. A salient finding was the first report of 350 proteins uniquely identified in sMVs may of which have the potential to enable discrimination of this EV subtype from exosomes (notably, members of the septin family, kinesin-like protein (KIF23), exportin-2/chromosome segregation like-1 protein (CSE1L), and Rac GTPase-activating protein 1 (RACGAP1)). We report for the first time that both SCUF-Exos and SCUF-sMVs isolated from LIM1863 colon cancer cells induce invasion of recipient NIH3T3 cells. Interestingly, the SCUF-sMVs promote invasion to a significantly greater extent (3-fold) than SCUF-Exos. This analytical SCUF method for fractionating EVs is potentially scalable using tangential flow filtration, thereby providing a solid foundation for future in-depth functional studies of EV subtypes using diverse cell types and functional assays.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ymeth.2015.04.008DOI Listing
October 2015

Deep sequencing of RNA from three different extracellular vesicle (EV) subtypes released from the human LIM1863 colon cancer cell line uncovers distinct miRNA-enrichment signatures.

PLoS One 2014 17;9(10):e110314. Epub 2014 Oct 17.

La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science (LIMS), La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Secreted microRNAs (miRNAs) enclosed within extracellular vesicles (EVs) play a pivotal role in intercellular communication by regulating recipient cell gene expression and affecting target cell function. Here, we report the isolation of three distinct EV subtypes from the human colon carcinoma cell line LIM1863--shed microvesicles (sMVs) and two exosome populations (immunoaffinity isolated A33-exosomes and EpCAM-exosomes). Deep sequencing of miRNA libraries prepared from parental LIM1863 cells/derived EV subtype RNA yielded 254 miRNA identifications, of which 63 are selectively enriched in the EVs--miR-19a/b-3p, miR-378a/c/d, and miR-577 and members of the let-7 and miR-8 families being the most prominent. Let-7a-3p*, let-7f-1-3p*, miR-451a, miR-574-5p*, miR-4454 and miR-7641 are common to all EV subtypes, and 6 miRNAs (miR-320a/b/c/d, miR-221-3p, and miR-200c-3p) discern LIM1863 exosomes from sMVs; miR-98-5p was selectively represented only in sMVs. Notably, A33-Exos contained the largest number (32) of exclusively-enriched miRNAs; 14 of these miRNAs have not been reported in the context of CRC tissue/biofluid analyses and warrant further examination as potential diagnostic markers of CRC. Surprisingly, miRNA passenger strands (star miRNAs) for miR-3613-3p*, -362-3p*, -625-3p*, -6842-3p* were the dominant strand in A33-Exos, the converse to that observed in parental cells. This finding suggests miRNA biogenesis may be interlinked with endosomal/exosomal processing.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0110314PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4201526PMC
October 2015

Proteome profiling of exosomes derived from human primary and metastatic colorectal cancer cells reveal differential expression of key metastatic factors and signal transduction components.

Proteomics 2013 May;13(10-11):1672-86

Department of Biochemistry, La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Exosomes are small extracellular 40-100 nm diameter membrane vesicles of late endosomal origin that can mediate intercellular transfer of RNAs and proteins to assist premetastatic niche formation. Using primary (SW480) and metastatic (SW620) human isogenic colorectal cancer cell lines we compared exosome protein profiles to yield valuable insights into metastatic factors and signaling molecules fundamental to tumor progression. Exosomes purified using OptiPrep™ density gradient fractionation were 40-100 nm in diameter, were of a buoyant density ~1.09 g/mL, and displayed stereotypic exosomal markers TSG101, Alix, and CD63. A major finding was the selective enrichment of metastatic factors (MET, S100A8, S100A9, TNC), signal transduction molecules (EFNB2, JAG1, SRC, TNIK), and lipid raft and lipid raft-associated components (CAV1, FLOT1, FLOT2, PROM1) in exosomes derived from metastatic SW620 cells. Additionally, using cryo-electron microscopy, ultrastructural components in exosomes were identified. A key finding of this study was the detection and colocalization of protein complexes EPCAM-CLDN7 and TNIK-RAP2A in colorectal cancer cell exosomes. The selective enrichment of metastatic factors and signaling pathway components in metastatic colon cancer cell-derived exosomes contributes to our understanding of the cross-talk between tumor and stromal cells in the tumor microenvironment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pmic.201200562DOI Listing
May 2013
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