Seminar: “Extracellular vesicle RNA and the pre-metastatic niche: a deadly conversation between prostate tumours and the bone”

Time: Thursday, 15 June 2017, at 13:00

Place: SIME building (Ravila 14B), 2nd floor seminar room

Victoria James, Assistant Professor in Cancer Biology and Gene Expression, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, UK.

Summary: The popular ‘seed and soil’ hypothesis proposes that organ preference patterns of metastasis result from favourable interactions between the metastatic cancer cells (‘seed’) and the organ microenvironment (‘soil’). However, what is less clear is whether primary tumours communicate with secondary sites in advance of tumour cell arrival, to create a ‘pre-metastatic niche’, to enhance tumour-cell colonisation at the most inefficient stage of metastasis. The role of extracellular-vesicles in this communication process remains to be explored.

In order to investigate how the cargo of prostate cancer (PCa) EVs could act to reprogramme the cells of the bone, to potentially create a supportive pre-metastatic niche. We have adapted a novel RNA tracking technique, to trace the route of the RNA cargo from PCa cells via EVs into recipient bone cells (osteoblasts), identifying several osteoblast specific RNAs suggesting PCa cells may selectively target cells of the bone with EV-mediated communication. 

Exposure of osteoblasts to PCa-EVs results in phenotypic changes indicative of microenvironment remodelling. Moreover, our data indicates treatment of the extracellular-environment can effectively block the uptake of PCa-EVs resulting in a reversal of the EV-activated osteoblast phenotype.


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