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Exosomes contain plenty of bioactive information, playing an important role in intercellular communication by transfer their bioactive molecular contents to recipient cells. Glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs) and non-GSC glioma cells coexist in GBM microenvironment; GSC-released exosomes contain intracellular signaling molecules, which may affect the biological phenotypes of recipient cells. However, whether GSC exosomes could affect the biological phenotype of non-GSC glioma cells has not yet been defined. To explore whether GSC exosomes could reprogramme non-GSC glioma cells into GSCs and its possible mechanism involved, non-GSC glioma cells were treated with GSCs released exosomes; the potential mechanisms of action were studied with RNA interference, Notch inhibitors and Western blot analysis. The proliferation, neurosphere formation, invasive capacities, and tumorigenicity of non-GSC glioma cells were increased significantly after GSC exosome treatment; Notch1 signaling pathway was activated in GSCs; Notch1 protein was highly enriched in GSC exosomes; Notch1 signaling pathway and stemness-related protein expressions were increased in GSC exosome treated non-GSC glioma cells and these cell generated tumor tissues; Notch1 protein expression in GSCs and their exosomes, and the neurosphere formation of GSCs were decreased by Notch1 RNA interference; Notch1 signaling pathway protein and stemness protein expressions were decreased in GSC exosome treated non-GSC glioma cells by Notch1 RNA interference and Notch inhibitors. The findings in this study indicated that GSC exosomes act as information carriers, mediated non-GSC glioma cell dedifferentiation into GSCs by delivering Notch1 protein through Notch1 signaling activation, and enhanced stemness and tumorigenicity of non-GSC glioma cells.


Zhen Sun, Li Wang, Yueling Zhou, Lihua Dong, Weichao Ma, Liang Lv, Jie Zhang, Xiujie Wang. Glioblastoma Stem Cell-Derived Exosomes Enhance Stemness and Tumorigenicity of Glioma Cells by Transferring Notch1 Protein. Cellular and molecular neurobiology. 2020 Jul;40(5):767-784

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PMID: 31853695

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