Tumor exosome promotes Th17 cell differentiation by transmitting the lncRNA CRNDE-h in colorectal cancer

Cell Death Dis. 2021 Jan 25;12(1):123. doi: 10.1038/s41419-020-03376-y.


The T helper 17 (Th17) cells in tumor microenvironment play an important role in colorectal cancer (CRC) progression. This study investigated the mechanism of Th17 cell differentiation in CRC with a focus on the role of tumor exosome-transmitted long noncoding RNA (lncRNA). Exosomes were isolated from the CRC cells and serum of CRC patients. The role and mechanism of the lncRNA CRNDE-h transmitted by CRC exosomes in Th17 cell differentiation were assessed by using various molecular biological methods. The serum exosomal CRNDE-h level was positively correlated with the proportion of Th17 cells in the tumor-infiltrating T cells in CRC patients. CRC exosomes contained abundant CRNDE-h and transmitted them to CD4+ T cells to increase the Th17 cell proportion, RORγt expression, and IL-17 promoter activity. The underlying mechanism is that, CRNDE-h bound to the PPXY motif of RORγt and impeded the ubiquitination and degradation of RORγt by inhibiting its binding with the E3 ubiquitin ligase Itch. The in vivo experiments confirmed that the targeted silence of CRNDE-h in CD4+ T cells attenuated the CRC tumor growth in mice. The present findings demonstrated that the tumor exosome transmitted CRNDE-h promoted Th17 cell differentiation by inhibiting the Itch-mediated ubiquitination and degradation of RORγt in CRC, expanding our understanding of Th17 cell differentiation in CRC.