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Forum on Immunopathological Diseases and Therapeutics
SJR: 0.309 SNIP: 0.041 CiteScore™: 0.18

ISSN Print: 2151-8017
ISSN Online: 2151-8025

Archives: Volume 1, 2010 to Volume 7, 2016

Forum on Immunopathological Diseases and Therapeutics

DOI: 10.1615/ForumImmunDisTher.2016016526
pages 133-141

Extracellular Vesicles as Potential Mediators of Epigenetic Reprogramming

Anna Lewandowska Ronnegren
Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology, Karolinska Institutet, Nobels vag 16, Box 280, SE 171-77 Stockholm, Sweden


Epigenetic machinery has the ability to affect tissue-specific gene expression and is essential for normal development. A heritable chromatin structure change can be the consequence of intracellular processes; however, there is a very high probability of its mediation with cellular communication. The information transfer can be obtained with many different strategies; nonetheless, extracellular vesicles (EVs) play a pivotal role in the regulation of physiological and pathological states. It has been widely proven that factors identified within exosomes and microvesicles, like non-coding RNA or proteins, have the ability to directly or indirectly affect post-translational modifications (PTM) of histones or DNA methylation. The phenotypic change driven by these molecules contributes to the regulation of cell identity, and disruption of the epigenetic machinery can lead to altered gene function and, consequently, diseases such as cancer. Because genetically unstable cancer cells tend to secrete higher amounts of extracellular vesicles that modulate the cancer microenvironment, it is very likely that this process involves epigenetic alternations. In this review, I discuss EV-dependent epigenetic reprogramming, with particular focus on the modification driven by miRNAs as well as by enzymes involved in the regulation of DNA methylation and histone modification.

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