Research Papers:

Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan serglycin influences protein cargo loading and functions of tumor-derived exosomes

Anurag Purushothaman _, Shyam K. Bandari, Darshan S. Chandrashekar, Richard J. Jones, Hans C. Lee, Donna M. Weber and Robert Z. Orlowski

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:73723-73732. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.20564

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Anurag Purushothaman1, Shyam K. Bandari2, Darshan S. Chandrashekar2, Richard J. Jones1, Hans C. Lee1, Donna M. Weber1 and Robert Z. Orlowski1,3

1 Department of Lymphoma and Myeloma, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA

2 Department of Pathology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA

3 Department of Experimental Therapeutics, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA

Correspondence to:

Anurag Purushothaman, email:

Keywords: serglycin, exosomes, multiple myeloma, chondroitin sulfate, protein cargo

Received: May 13, 2017 Accepted: August 03, 2017 Published: August 27, 2017


Tumor cells produce and utilize exosomes to promote tumor growth and metastasis. Tumor-cell-derived exosomes deliver cargos that partially mimic the contents of the parent cell to nearby or distant normal or abnormal cells, thereby reprogramming the recipient cells to support tumor progression. Mechanisms by which tumor-derived exosomes subserve the tumor are under intense investigation. Here we demonstrate a critical role of the chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan serglycin in regulating the protein cargo and functions of myeloma cell-derived exosomes. Previous studies have shown that serglycin, the only known intracellular proteoglycan, functions mainly in the storage of basically charged components within the intracellular granules/vesicles via serglycin’s densely clustered, negatively charged glycosaminoglycan chains. Here we demonstrate that serglycin plays a critical role in the protein cargo loading of tumor-derived exosomes. Serglycin was detected in exosomes derived from cell culture supernatants of human myeloma cell lines and serum of myeloma patients. Mass spectrometry analysis of exosomal proteins identified significantly fewer protein components within exosomes derived from serglycin-knockdown myeloma cells than within exosomes from control cells. On gene ontology analysis, exosomes derived from serglycin-knockdown cells, but not from control cells, lacked many proteins that are required for mediating different cellular processes. In functional assays, exosomes from serglycin-knockdown cells failed to induce an invasive phenotype in myeloma cells and failed to promote migration of macrophages. These findings reveal that serglycin plays an important role in maintaining the protein cargo in tumor-derived exosomes and suggest that targeting serglycin may temper the influence of these exosomes on cancer progression.

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