Induction of m6A methylation in adipocyte exosomal LncRNAs mediates myeloma drug resistance

Zhiming Wang, Jin He, Duc hiep Bach, Yung hsing Huang, Zongwei Li, Huan Liu, Pei Lin, Jing Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Background: Therapeutic resistance occurs in most patients with multiple myeloma (MM). One of the key mechanisms for MM drug resistance comes from the interaction between MM cells and adipocytes that inhibits drug-induced apoptosis in MM cells; MM cells reprogram adipocytes to morph into different characterizations, including exosomes, which are important for tumor-stroma cellular communication. However, the mechanism by which exosomes mediate the cellular machinery of the vicious cycle between MM cells and adipocytes remains unclear. Methods: Adipocytes were either isolated from bone marrow aspirates of healthy donors or MM patients or derived from mesenchymal stem cells. Co-culturing normal adipocytes with MM cells was used to generate MM-associated adipocytes. Exosomes were collected from the culture medium of adipocytes. Annexin V-binding and TUNEL assays were performed to assess MM cell apoptosis. Methyltransferase activity assay and dot blotting were used to access the m6A methylation activity of methyltransferase like 7A (METTL7A). RIP, MeRIP-seq, and RNA–protein pull down for assessing the interaction between long non-cording RNAs (LncRNAs) and RNA binding proteins were performed. Adipocyte-specific enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) knockout mice and MM-xenografted mice were used for evaluating MM therapeutic response in vivo. Results: Exosomes collected from MM patient adipocytes protect MM cells from chemotherapy-induced apoptosis. Two LncRNAs in particular, LOC606724 and SNHG1, are significantly upregulated in MM cells after exposure to adipocyte exosomes. The raised LncRNA levels in MM cells are positively correlated to worse outcomes in patients, indicating their clinical relevancy in MM. The functional roles of adipocyte exosomal LOC606724 or SNHG1 in inhibition of MM cell apoptosis are determined by knockdown in adipocytes or overexpression in MM cells. We discovered the interactions between LncRNAs and RNA binding proteins and identified methyltransferase like 7A (METTL7A) as an RNA methyltransferase. MM cells promote LncRNA package into adipocyte exosomes through METTL7A-mediated LncRNA m6A methylation. Exposure of adipocytes to MM cells enhances METTL7A activity in m6A methylation through EZH2-mediated protein methylation. Conclusion: This study elucidates an unexplored mechanism of how adipocyte-rich microenvironment exacerbates MM therapeutic resistance and indicates a potential strategy to improve therapeutic efficacy by blocking this vicious exosome-mediated cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4
Pages (from-to)4
JournalJournal of Experimental and Clinical Cancer Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 3 2022


  • Adipocytes
  • Exosomes
  • LncRNA mA Methylation
  • Myeloma
  • Therapeutics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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