The composition and physical properties of the extracellular matrix (ECM) critically influence tumor progression, but the molecular mechanisms underlying ECM layering are poorly understood. Tumor–stroma interaction critically depends on cell communication mediated by exosomes, small vesicles generated within multivesicular bodies (MVBs). We show that caveolin-1 (Cav1) centrally regulates exosome biogenesis and exosomal protein cargo sorting through the control of cholesterol content at the endosomal compartment/MVBs. Quantitative proteomics profiling revealed that Cav1 is required for exosomal sorting of ECM protein cargo subsets, including Tenascin-C (TnC), and for fibroblast-derived exosomes to efficiently deposit ECM and promote tumor invasion. Cav1-driven exosomal ECM deposition not only promotes local stromal remodeling but also the generation of distant ECM-enriched stromal niches in vivo. Cav1 acts as a cholesterol rheostat in MVBs, determining sorting of ECM components into specific exosome pools and thus ECM deposition. This supports a model by which Cav1 is a central regulatory hub for tumor–stroma interactions through a novel exosome-dependent ECM deposition mechanism.

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