Recycled melanoma-secreted melanosomes regulate tumor-associated macrophage diversification

Roma Parikh, Shivang Parikh, Daniella Berzin, Hananya Vaknine, Shai Ovadia, Daniela Likonen, Shoshana Greenberger, Alon Scope, Sharona Elgavish, Yuval Nevo, Inbar Plaschkes, Eran Nizri, Oren Kobiler, Avishai Maliah, Laureen Zaremba, Vishnu Mohan, Irit Sagi, Ruth Ashery-Padan, Yaron Carmi, Chen LuxenburgJörg D. Hoheisel, Mehdi Khaled, Mitchell P. Levesque, Carmit Levy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are important mediators of communication between cells. Here, we reveal a new mode of intercellular communication by melanosomes, large EVs secreted by melanocytes for melanin transport. Unlike small EVs, which are disintegrated within the receiver cell, melanosomes stay intact within them, gain a unique protein signature, and can then be further transferred to another cell as “second-hand” EVs. We show that melanoma-secreted melanosomes passaged through epidermal keratinocytes or dermal fibroblasts can be further engulfed by resident macrophages. This process leads to macrophage polarization into pro-tumor or pro-immune cell infiltration phenotypes. Melanosomes that are transferred through fibroblasts can carry AKT1, which induces VEGF secretion from macrophages in an mTOR-dependent manner, promoting angiogenesis and metastasis in vivo. In melanoma patients, macrophages that are co-localized with AKT1 are correlated with disease aggressiveness, and immunotherapy non-responders are enriched in macrophages containing melanosome markers. Our findings suggest that interactions mediated by second-hand extracellular vesicles contribute to the formation of the metastatic niche, and that blocking the melanosome cues of macrophage diversification could be helpful in halting melanoma progression.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalEMBO Journal
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.


  • Angiogenesis
  • Cell-to-Cell-Transfer
  • Heterogeneity
  • Melanosomes
  • Tumor Associated Macrophages


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