Microparticle-associated nucleic acids mediate trait dominance in cancer

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Journal Article
FASEB Journal, 2012, 26 (1), pp. 420 - 429
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Drug resistance is a major cause of cancer treatment failure, with multidrug resistance (MDR) being the most serious, whereby cancer cells display cross-resistance to structurally and functionally unrelated drugs. MDR is caused by overexpression of the efflux transporters P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and multidrug resistance-associated protein 1 (MRP1). These transporters act to maintain sublethal intracellular drug concentrations within the cancer cell, making the population treatment unresponsive. Recently, we discovered a novel nongenetic basis to MDR whereby microparticles (MPs) transfer P-gp intercellularly from MDR donor cells to drug-sensitive recipient cells. MPs isolated from MDR leukemia and breast cancer cells were cocultured with their drug-sensitive counterparts. P-gp transfer was assessed by direct immunolabeling, and acquired transcripts and regulatory microRNAs by quantitative real-time PCR. We show that MDR MPs incorporate nucleic acids; MPs change recipient cells'transcriptional environment to reflect donor MDR phenotype, and distinct pathways exist among cancers of different origin that may be dependent on donor cells'ABCB1 overexpression. We demonstrate that this pathway exists for both hematological and nonhematological malignancies. By conferring MDR and "retemplating"the transcriptional landscape of recipient cells, MPs provide a novel pathway, having implications in the dissemination and acquisition of deleterious traits in clinical oncology. © FASEB.
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