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Nat Commun. 2011 Feb 1;2:180. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1180.

Tumour microvesicles contain retrotransposon elements and amplified oncogene sequences.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02129, USA.

Abstract

Tumour cells release an abundance of microvesicles containing a selected set of proteins and RNAs. Here, we show that tumour microvesicles also carry DNA, which reflects the genetic status of the tumour, including amplification of the oncogene c-Myc. We also find amplified c-Myc in serum microvesicles from tumour-bearing mice. Further, we find remarkably high levels of retrotransposon RNA transcripts, especially for some human endogenous retroviruses, such as LINE-1 and Alu retrotransposon elements, in tumour microvesicles and these transposable elements could be transferred to normal cells. These findings expand the nucleic acid content of tumour microvesicles to include: elevated levels of specific coding and non-coding RNA and DNA, mutated and amplified oncogene sequences and transposable elements. Thus, tumour microvesicles contain a repertoire of genetic information available for horizontal gene transfer and potential use as blood biomarkers for cancer.

PMID:
21285958
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3040683
Free PMC Article

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