GABARAPL1 is essential in extracellular vesicle cargo loading and metastasis development

Joel E J Beaumont, Jinzhe Ju, Lydie M O Barbeau, Imke Demers, Kim G Savelkouls, Kasper Derks, Freek G Bouwman, Marca H M Wauben, Marijke I Zonneveld, Tom G H Keulers, Kasper M A Rouschop*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background and purpose: Hypoxia is a common feature of tumours, associated with poor prognosis due to increased resistance to radio- and chemotherapy and enhanced metastasis development. Previously we demonstrated that GABARAPL1 is required for the secretion of extracellular vesicles (EV) with pro-angiogenic properties during hypoxia. Here, we explored the role of GABARAPL1+ EV in the metastatic cascade. Materials and methods: GABARAPL1 deficient or control MDA-MB-231 cells were injected in murine mammary fat pads. Lungs were dissected and analysed for human cytokeratin 18. EV from control and GABARAPL1 deficient cells exposed to normoxia (21% O2) or hypoxia (O2 < 0.02%) were isolated and analysed by immunoblot, nanoparticle tracking analysis, high resolution flow cytometry, mass spectrometry and next-generation sequencing. Cellular migration and invasion were analysed using scratch assays and transwell-invasion assays, respectively. Results: The number of pulmonary metastases derived from GABARAPL1 deficient tumours decreased by 84%. GABARAPL1 deficient cells migrate slower but display a comparable invasive capacity. Both normoxic and hypoxic EV contain proteins and miRNAs associated with metastasis development and, in line, increase cancer cell invasiveness. Although GABARAPL1 deficiency alters EV content, it does not alter the EV-induced increase in cancer cell invasiveness. Conclusion: GABARAPL1 is essential for metastasis development. This is unrelated to changes in migration and invasion and suggests that GABARAPL1 or GABARAPL1+ EV are essential in other processes related to the metastatic cascade.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109968
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalRadiotherapy and Oncology
Early online date28 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


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