Research Papers:

Exosomal survivin facilitates vesicle internalization

Amber Gonda, Janviere Kabagwira, Girish N. Senthil, Heather R. Ferguson Bennit, Jonathan W. Neidigh, Salma Khan and Nathan R. Wall _

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:34919-34934. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.26182

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Amber Gonda1,3, Janviere Kabagwira1,2, Girish N. Senthil1, Heather R. Ferguson Bennit1,2, Jonathan W. Neidigh2, Salma Khan1,2 and Nathan R. Wall1,2

1Center for Health Disparities Research and Molecular Medicine, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, California, 92350, USA

2Department of Basic Sciences, Division of Biochemistry, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, California, 92350, USA

3Department of Basic Sciences, Division of Anatomy, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, California, 92350, USA

Correspondence to:

Nathan R. Wall, email: [email protected]

Keywords: survivin; membrane receptors; exosome; transferrin; cancer targets

Received: August 19, 2018     Accepted: September 15, 2018     Published: October 09, 2018


Survivin, a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) protein family plays a significant role in cell fate and function. It is significantly overexpressed in tumor cells and has been identified in most cancer cell types. A novel extracellular population has recently been identified and its function is still unknown. Emerging evidence continues to shed light on the important role the tumor microenvironment (TME) has on tumor survival and progression. This new population of survivin has been seen to enhance the tumor phenotype when internalized by recipient cells. In this paper, we sought to better understand the mechanism by which survivin is taken up by cancer cells and the possible role it plays in this phenomenon. We isolated the exosomal carriers of extracellular survivin and using a lipophilic stain, PKH67, we tracked their uptake with immunofluorescence and flow cytometry. We found that by blocking exosomal survivin, exosome internalization is reduced, signifying a novel function for this protein. We also discovered that the common membrane receptors, transferrin receptor, endothelin B receptor, insulin receptor alpha, and membrane glucocorticoid receptor all facilitate exosomal internalization. This understanding further clarifies the protein-protein interactions in the TME that may influence tumor progression and identifies additional potential chemotherapeutic targets.

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