Smuggling gold nanoparticles across cell types: A new role for exosomes in gene silencing

Catarina Roma-Rodrigues, Francisca Pereira, António Pedro Alves De Matos, Marta Fernandes, Pedro V. Baptista, Alexandra R. Fernandes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Once released to the extracellular space, exosomes enable the transfer of proteins, lipids and RNA between different cells, being able to modulate the recipient cells’ phenotypes. Members of the Rab small GTP-binding protein family, such as RAB27A, are responsible for the coordination of several steps in vesicle trafficking, including budding, mobility, docking and fusion. The use of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) for gene silencing is considered a cutting-edge technology. Here, AuNPs were functionalized with thiolated oligonucleotides anti-RAB27A (AuNP@PEG@anti-RAB27A) for selective silencing of the gene with a consequent decrease of exosomes´ release by MCF-7 and MDA-MB-453 cells. Furthermore, communication between tumor and normal cells was observed both in terms of alterations in c-Myc gene expression and transportation of the AuNPs, mediating gene silencing in secondary cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1389-1398
Number of pages10
JournalNanomedicine-Nanotechnology Biology And Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2017


  • Breast cancer
  • Cell–cell communication
  • Exosomes
  • Gene silencing
  • Gold nanoparticles


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