Bone marrow-derived human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) are recruited to damaged or inflamed tissues where they contribute to tissue repair. This multi-step process involves chemokine-directed invasion of hMSCs and on-site release of factors that influence target cells or tumor tissues. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms are largely unclear. Previously, we described that microRNA let-7f controls hMSC differentiation. Here, we investigated the role of let-7f in chemotactic invasion and paracrine anti-tumor effects. Incubation with stromal cell-derived factor-1 alpha (SDF-1 alpha) or inflammatory cytokines upregulated let-7f expression in hMSCs. Transfection of hMSCs with let-7f mimics enhanced CXCR4-dependent invasion by augmentation of pericellular proteolysis and release of matrix metalloproteinase-9. Hypoxia-induced stabilization of the hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha in hMSCs promoted cell invasion via let-7f and activation of autophagy. Dependent on its endogenous level, let-7f facilitated hMSC motility and invasion through regulation of the autophagic flux in these cells. In addition, secreted let-7f encapsulated in exosomes was increased upon upregulation of endogenous let-7f by treatment of the cells with SDF-1 alpha, hypoxia, or induction of autophagy. In recipient 4T1 tumor cells, hMSC-derived exosomal let-7f attenuated proliferation and invasion. Moreover, implantation of 3D spheroids composed of hMSCs and 4T1 cells into a breast cancer mouse model demonstrated that hMSCs overexpressing let-7f inhibited tumor growth in vivo. Our findings provide evidence that let-7f is pivotal in the regulation of hMSC invasion in response to inflammation and hypoxia, suggesting that exosomal let-7f exhibits paracrine anti-tumor effects.
|Number of pages||16|
|Journal||Cell Death & Disease|
|Publication status||Published - 20 May 2021|
- INDUCIBLE FACTOR-1-ALPHA