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Exosome-mediated transfer of mRNAs and microRNAs is a novel mechanism of genetic exchange between cells.

Nature cell biology

ultrastructure, Animals, metabolism, genetics, Transport Vesicles, RNA, Messenger, Protein Biosynthesis, MicroRNAs, Mice, Mast Cells, Humans, Gene Expression Regulation, Exocytosis, Epigenesis, Genetic, Cell Line, Cell Communication

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      Abstract

      Exosomes are vesicles of endocytic origin released by many cells. These vesicles can mediate communication between cells, facilitating processes such as antigen presentation. Here, we show that exosomes from a mouse and a human mast cell line (MC/9 and HMC-1, respectively), as well as primary bone marrow-derived mouse mast cells, contain RNA. Microarray assessments revealed the presence of mRNA from approximately 1300 genes, many of which are not present in the cytoplasm of the donor cell. In vitro translation proved that the exosome mRNAs were functional. Quality control RNA analysis of total RNA derived from exosomes also revealed presence of small RNAs, including microRNAs. The RNA from mast cell exosomes is transferable to other mouse and human mast cells. After transfer of mouse exosomal RNA to human mast cells, new mouse proteins were found in the recipient cells, indicating that transferred exosomal mRNA can be translated after entering another cell. In summary, we show that exosomes contain both mRNA and microRNA, which can be delivered to another cell, and can be functional in this new location. We propose that this RNA is called "exosomal shuttle RNA" (esRNA).

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      Combinatorial microRNA target predictions.

      MicroRNAs are small noncoding RNAs that recognize and bind to partially complementary sites in the 3' untranslated regions of target genes in animals and, by unknown mechanisms, regulate protein production of the target transcript. Different combinations of microRNAs are expressed in different cell types and may coordinately regulate cell-specific target genes. Here, we present PicTar, a computational method for identifying common targets of microRNAs. Statistical tests using genome-wide alignments of eight vertebrate genomes, PicTar's ability to specifically recover published microRNA targets, and experimental validation of seven predicted targets suggest that PicTar has an excellent success rate in predicting targets for single microRNAs and for combinations of microRNAs. We find that vertebrate microRNAs target, on average, roughly 200 transcripts each. Furthermore, our results suggest widespread coordinate control executed by microRNAs. In particular, we experimentally validate common regulation of Mtpn by miR-375, miR-124 and let-7b and thus provide evidence for coordinate microRNA control in mammals.
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        B lymphocytes secrete antigen-presenting vesicles

        Antigen-presenting cells contain a specialized late endocytic compartment, MIIC (major histocompatibility complex [MHC] class II- enriched compartment), that harbors newly synthesized MHC class II molecules in transit to the plasma membrane. MIICs have a limiting membrane enclosing characteristic internal membrane vesicles. Both the limiting membrane and the internal vesicles contain MHC class II. In this study on B lymphoblastoid cells, we demonstrate by immunoelectron microscopy that the limiting membrane of MIICs can fuse directly with the plasma membrane, resulting in release from the cells of internal MHC class II-containing vesicles. These secreted vesicles, named exosomes, were isolated from the cell culture media by differential centrifugation followed by flotation on sucrose density gradients. The overall surface protein composition of exosomes differed significantly from that of the plasma membrane. Exosome-bound MHC class II was in a compact, peptide-bound conformation. Metabolically labeled MHC class II was released into the extracellular medium with relatively slow kinetics, 10 +/- 4% in 24 h, indicating that direct fusion of MIICs with the plasma membrane is not the major pathway by which MHC class II reaches the plasma membrane. Exosomes derived from both human and murine B lymphocytes induced antigen-specific MHC class II-restricted T cell responses. These data suggest a role for exosomes in antigen presentation in vivo.
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          Identification and proteomic profiling of exosomes in human urine.

          Urine provides an alternative to blood plasma as a potential source of disease biomarkers. One urinary biomarker already exploited in clinical studies is aquaporin-2. However, it remains a mystery how aquaporin-2 (an integral membrane protein) and other apical transporters are delivered to the urine. Here we address the hypothesis that these proteins reach the urine through the secretion of exosomes [membrane vesicles that originate as internal vesicles of multivesicular bodies (MVBs)]. Low-density urinary membrane vesicles from normal human subjects were isolated by differential centrifugation. ImmunoGold electron microscopy using antibodies directed to cytoplasmic or anticytoplasmic epitopes revealed that the vesicles are oriented "cytoplasmic-side inward," consistent with the unique orientation of exosomes. The vesicles were small (<100 nm), consistent with studies of MVBs and exosomes from other tissues. Proteomic analysis of urinary vesicles through nanospray liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry identified numerous protein components of MVBs and of the endosomal pathway in general. Full liquid chromatography-tandem MS analysis revealed 295 proteins, including multiple protein products of genes already known to be responsible for renal and systemic diseases, including autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, Gitelman syndrome, Bartter syndrome, autosomal recessive syndrome of osteopetrosis with renal tubular acidosis, and familial renal hypomagnesemia. The results indicate that exosome isolation may provide an efficient first step in biomarker discovery in urine.
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            Author and article information

            Journal
            10.1038/ncb1596
            17486113

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