Proteomic analysis of exosomes from mutant KRAS colon cancer cells identifies intercellular transfer of mutant KRAS.


Activating mutations in KRAS occur in 30% to 40% of colorectal cancers. How mutant KRAS alters cancer cell behavior has been studied intensively, but non-cell autonomous effects of mutant KRAS are less understood. We recently reported that exosomes isolated from mutant KRAS-expressing colon cancer cells enhanced the invasiveness of recipient cells relative to exosomes purified from wild-type KRAS-expressing cells, leading us to hypothesize mutant KRAS might affect neighboring and distant cells by regulating exosome composition and behavior. Herein, we show the results of a comprehensive proteomic analysis of exosomes from parental DLD-1 cells that contain both wild-type and G13D mutant KRAS alleles and isogenically matched derivative cell lines, DKO-1 (mutant KRAS allele only) and DKs-8 (wild-type KRAS allele only). Mutant KRAS status dramatically affects the composition of the exosome proteome. Exosomes from mutant KRAS cells contain many tumor-promoting proteins, including KRAS, EGFR, SRC family kinases, and integrins. DKs-8 cells internalize DKO-1 exosomes, and, notably, DKO-1 exosomes transfer mutant KRAS to DKs-8 cells, leading to enhanced three-dimensional growth of these wild-type KRAS-expressing non-transformed cells. These results have important implications for non-cell autonomous effects of mutant KRAS, such as field effect and tumor progression.

  • Coffey RJ
  • Demory Beckler M
  • Franklin JL
  • Halvey PJ
  • Ham AJ
  • Higginbotham JN
  • Imasuen IE
  • Li M
  • Liebler DC
  • Whitwell C
PubMed ID
Appears In
Mol Cell Proteomics, 2013, 12 (2)