Research ArticleCANCER EXOSOMES

AML suppresses hematopoiesis by releasing exosomes that contain microRNAs targeting c-MYB

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Science Signaling  06 Sep 2016:
Vol. 9, Issue 444, pp. ra88
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aaf2797

AML dispatches micromanagers

In patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), the production of healthy blood cells from hematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow (a process called hematopoiesis) is suppressed, prompting the need for bone marrow transplants. AML cells shed extracellular vesicles called exosomes that contain molecules that suppress hematopoiesis by reprogramming the stem cell niche. Hornick et al. discovered another way that AML exosomes block this critical process by delivering microRNAs to hematopoietic stem cells. The AML-derived exosomes contained two mature microRNAs that target the mRNA encoding c-MYB, a transcription factor involved in hematopoiesis. Other targets of these AML-derived exosomal microRNAs reveal interconnected networks targeting transcripts that produce proteins that control the cell cycle. The findings suggest that disrupting this mode of intercellular communication might enhance hematopoiesis in AML patients.

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