Functional role of microvesicles in gastrointestinal malignancies
Microvesicles (MVs) are derived from the plasma membrane and are released into the intracellular space by outward budding and fission of the plasma membrane of cells. Various studies have shown high regulation of microvesicles shedding from cells widespread throughout the body, often involving cancerous cells. MVs are originated from the endosomal membrane compartment, and after fusion with the plasma membrane, they are shed from the cell surface of activated cells. Therefore, microvesicles may be secreted by activated malignant and normal cells and play a role in cellular communication during cancer development. Microvesicles are found in many biological fluids in the body and have been demonstrated to receive their functionality from the parent cell from which they are derived. MVs facilitate the transfer of proteins and other molecules, thereby allowing for interaction with cells and tissues far away from the originating cell. This functionality has caused researchers to view microvesicles as a primary component of tumor progression and development. This commentary summarizes recent literature on the properties and biogenesis of microvesicles, and their influence on gastrointestinal tumor progression.