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Exosome-delivered miRNA promotes breast cancer progression in African Americans by activating cancer-associated fat cells


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Exosomes are membrane-bound extracellular vesicles (EVs) produced in the endosomal compartment of many eukaryotic cells. In animals, exosomes are found in biological fluids where they participate in functions including intercellular communication. Scientists researching the role of exosomes in cell-to-cell signaling often hypothesize that delivery of their cargo RNA can explain the biological effects that EVs exert on their target tissues. MicroRNAs (miRNA; non-coding RNA molecules 21 to 23 nucleotides in length) in exosomes are protected from RNase-dependent degradation and they can be stably detected in blood-based samples. Previous studies have shown that certain miRNA species carried by exosomes can serve as biomarkers and may in fact affect the progression of breast and brain cancer metastasis. Several recent studies have suggested that differences in miRNA signaling may underlie the pronounced discrepancies in breast cancer mortality seen, although the exact nature of miRNA involvement remains elusive.

In their recent Nature Communications article, Zhao et al. used microscopy-based, molecular, and in vivo analyses to identify exosome-delivered miR-1304-3p as the most upregulated miRNA in African American breast cancer patients and showed that...


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Zhao, D., Wu, K., Sharma, S., Xing, F., Wu, S. Y., Tyagi, A., … & Watabe, K. (2022). Exosomal miR-1304-3p promotes breast cancer progression in African Americans by activating cancer-associated adipocytes. Nature Communications, 13(1), 7734. 

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