Exosomes are small vesicles that are packed full of microRNAs, proteins, lipids and other biological molecules that get released from most cells in the body. In different biological settings, exosomes can be considered as little bubbles of joy or little packets of trouble.
For example, in a normal healthy adult, exosomes help cells to remodel themselves and pass messages between cells. Yet in cancer cells, malignant exosomes can change how immune cells look and behave, and may promote tumour development.
Now, a team of scientists at the National Cancer Institute in the USA have analysed how radiation therapy affects the release of exosomes from either healthy or malignant brain cells. They found that radiation therapy increases the number of exosomes being secreted from both normal and cancer cells, and changes the nature of their proteomic payloads to promote cell motility. Such exosomes could play a substantial role in helping cancer cells to spread.
Image credit: Libertas Academica
Repost from the Stojdl Lab blog.