Pancreatic cancer-derived exosomes transfer miRNAs to dendritic cells and inhibit RFXAP expression via miR-212-3p

Oncotarget. 2015 Oct 6;6(30):29877-88. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.4924.


It has been reported tumor-derived exosomes can transfer miRNAs to recipient cells in the tumor microenvironment, promoting tumor invasion and metastasis. The present research aimed to explore how pancreatic cancer (PC) derived exosomal miRNAs inhibited mRNA expression of dendritic cells and induced immune tolerance. Our study revealed that 9 PC-related miRNAs were increased and 208 mRNAs were inhibited in exosome-stimulated dendritic cells (exo-iDCs) compared to immature dendritic cells (iDCs). A target prediction between the 9 miRNAs and 208 mRNAs was performed by bioinformatics database analysis. From the target prediction, it was predicted and validated that regulatory factor X-associated protein (RFXAP), an important transcription factor for MHC II, was inhibited by miR-212-3p transferred from PC-secreted exosomes, resulting in decreased MHC II expression. Moreover, a clinical study showed a negative correlation between miR-212-3p and RFXAP in PC tissue. From these data, we concluded that PC-related miRNAs can be transferred to dendritic cells via exosome and inhibit target mRNA expression. More importantly, PC-derived exosomes inhibit RFXAP expression via miR-212-3p, which decrease MHC II expression and induce immune tolerance of dendritic cells. RFXAP deficiency has never been reported in solid tumors. The functions and mechanisms of RFXAP in tumors deserve future explorations.

Keywords: MHC II; RFXAP; exosomes; miR-212-3p; pancreatic cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism*
  • Exosomes / genetics*
  • Exosomes / metabolism
  • Exosomes / ultrastructure
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II / genetics
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II
  • MIRN212 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • RFXAP protein, human
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Transcription Factors

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE67020