Differential Content of Proteins, mRNAs, and miRNAs Suggests that MDSC and Their Exosomes May Mediate Distinct Immune Suppressive Functions

J Proteome Res. 2018 Jan 5;17(1):486-498. doi: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.7b00646. Epub 2017 Nov 27.


Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) are immature myeloid cells that accumulate in the circulation and the tumor microenvironment of most cancer patients. There, MDSC suppress both adaptive and innate immunity, hindering immunotherapies. The inflammatory milieu often present in cancers facilitates MDSC suppressive activity, causing aggressive tumor progression and metastasis. MDSC from tumor-bearing mice release exosomes, which carry biologically active proteins and mediate some of the immunosuppressive functions characteristic of MDSC. Studies on other cell types have shown that exosomes may also carry RNAs which can be transferred to local and distant cells, yet the mRNA and microRNA cargo of MDSC-derived exosomes has not been studied to date. Here, the cargo of MDSC and their exosomes was interrogated with the goal of identifying and characterizing molecules that may facilitate MDSC suppressive potency. Because inflammation is an established driving force for MDSC suppressive activity, we used the well-established 4T1 mouse mammary carcinoma system, which includes "conventional" as well as "inflammatory" MDSC. We provide evidence that MDSC-derived exosomes carry proteins, mRNAs, and microRNAs with different quantitative profiles than those of their parental cells. Several of these molecules have known or predicted functions consistent with MDSC suppressive activity, suggesting a potential mechanistic redundancy.

Keywords: differential expression; exosomes; mRNA; miRNA; myeloid-derived suppressor cells; next generation sequencing; shotgun proteomics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Exosomes / chemistry*
  • Exosomes / immunology
  • Exosomes / physiology
  • Immunity
  • Inflammation
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs / analysis
  • Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells / chemistry*
  • Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells / immunology
  • Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells / physiology
  • Proteins / analysis
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis


  • MicroRNAs
  • Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger