Glioblastoma-Derived Extracellular Vesicles Facilitate Transformation of Astrocytes via Reprogramming Oncogenic Metabolism

iScience. 2020 Aug 21;23(8):101420. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2020.101420. Epub 2020 Jul 29.


Glioblastoma (GBM) may arise from astrocytes through a multistep process involving a progressive accumulation of mutations. We explored whether GBM-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) may facilitate neoplastic transformation and malignant growth of astrocytes. We utilized conditioned media (CM) of cultured glioma cells, its sequential filtration, diverse cell-based assays, RNA sequencing, and metabolic assays to compare the effects of EV-containing and EV-depleted CM. GBM EVs facilitated the neoplastic growth of pre-transformed astrocytes but not normal human or mouse astrocytes. They induced proliferation, self-renewal, and colony formation of pre-transformed astrocytes and enhanced astrocytoma growth in a mouse allograft model. GBM EVs appear to reprogram astrocyte metabolism by inducing a shift in gene expression that may be partly associated with EV-mediated transfer of full-length mRNAs encoding ribosomal proteins, oxidative phosphorylation, and glycolytic factors. Our study suggests an EV/extracellular RNA (exRNA)-mediated mechanism that contributes to astrocyte transformation via metabolic reprograming and implicates horizontal mRNA transfer.

Keywords: Biological Sciences; Cancer; Cell Biology.