Extracellular vesicles (EVs) have been proposed as a means to promote intercellular communication. We show that when human primary cells are exposed to cancer cell EVs, rapid cell death of the primary cells is observed, while cancer cells treated with primary or cancer cell EVs do not display this response. The active agents that trigger cell death are 29- to 31-nucleotide (nt) or 22- to 23-nt processed fragments of an 83-nt primary transcript of the human RNY5 gene that are highly likely to be formed within the EVs. Primary cells treated with either cancer cell EVs, deproteinized total RNA from either primary or cancer cell EVs, or synthetic versions of 31- and 23-nt fragments trigger rapid cell death in a dose-dependent manner. The transfer of processed RNY5 fragments through EVs may reflect a novel strategy used by cancer cells toward the establishment of a favorable microenvironment for their proliferation and invasion.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2015 Zhou et al.
- Cancer microenvironment
- Extracellular vesicles