To better understand the role of exosomes in the trabecular meshwork (TM), the site of intraocular pressure control, the exosome proteome from primary cultures of human TM cell monolayers was analyzed. Exosomes were purified from urine and conditioned media from primary cultures of human TM cell monolayers and subjected to a two dimensional HPLC separation and MS/MS analyses using the MudPIT strategy. Spectra were searched against a human protein database using Sequest. Protein profiles were compared to each other and the Exocarta database and the presence of specific protein markers confirmed by Western blot analyses of exosomes from aqueous humor and human TM cell strains (n=5) that were untreated, or exposed to dexamethasone and/or ionomycin. TM cell exosomes contained 108 of the 143 most represented exosome proteins in ExoCarta, including previously characterized markers such as membrane organizing and tetraspanin proteins. Several cell-specific proteins in TM exosomes were identified including myocilin, emilin-1 and neuropilin-1. All TM exosome proteins had flotation densities on sucrose gradients and release responses to ionomycin typical for exosomes. Taken together, TM exosomes have a characteristic exosome protein profile plus contain unique proteins, including the glaucoma-causing protein, myocilin; suggesting a role for exosomes in the control of intraocular pressure.
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