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Exomeres are a recently discovered type of extracellular nanoparticle with no known biological function. Herein, we describe a simple ultracentrifugation-based method for separation of exomeres from exosomes. Exomeres are enriched in Argonaute 1-3 and amyloid precursor protein. We identify distinct functions of exomeres mediated by two of their cargo, the β-galactoside α2,6-sialyltransferase 1 (ST6Gal-I) that α2,6- sialylates N-glycans, and the EGFR ligand, amphiregulin (AREG). Functional ST6Gal-I in exomeres can be transferred to cells, resulting in hypersialylation of recipient cell-surface proteins including β1-integrin. AREG-containing exomeres elicit prolonged EGFR and downstream signaling in recipient cells, modulate EGFR trafficking in normal intestinal organoids, and dramatically enhance the growth of colonic tumor organoids. This study provides a simplified method of exomere isolation and demonstrates that exomeres contain and can transfer functional cargo. These findings underscore the heterogeneity of nanoparticles and should accelerate advances in determining the composition and biological functions of exomeres.
Copyright © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The heterogeneity of small extracellular vesicles and presence of non-vesicular extracellular matter have led to debate about contents and functional properties of exosomes. Here, we employ high-resolution density gradient fractionation and direct immunoaffinity capture to precisely characterize the RNA, DNA, and protein constituents of exosomes and other non-vesicle material. Extracellular RNA, RNA-binding proteins, and other cellular proteins are differentially expressed in exosomes and non-vesicle compartments. Argonaute 1-4, glycolytic enzymes, and cytoskeletal proteins were not detected in exosomes. We identify annexin A1 as a specific marker for microvesicles that are shed directly from the plasma membrane. We further show that small extracellular vesicles are not vehicles of active DNA release. Instead, we propose a new model for active secretion of extracellular DNA through an autophagy- and multivesicular-endosome-dependent but exosome-independent mechanism. This study demonstrates the need for a reassessment of exosome composition and offers a framework for a clearer understanding of extracellular vesicle heterogeneity.
Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are important mediators of cell-cell communication due to their cargo content of proteins, lipids, and RNAs. We previously reported that small EVs (SEVs) called exosomes promote directed and random cell motility, invasion, and serum-independent growth. In contrast, larger EVs (LEVs) were not active in those assays, but might have unique functional properties. In order to identify protein cargos that may contribute to different functions of SEVs and LEVs, we used isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ)-liquid chromatography (LC) tandem mass spectrometry (MS) on EVs isolated from a colon cancer cell line. Bioinformatics analyses revealed that SEVs are enriched in proteins associated with cell-cell junctions, cell-matrix adhesion, exosome biogenesis machinery, and various signaling pathways. In contrast, LEVs are enriched in proteins associated with ribosome and RNA biogenesis, processing, and metabolism. Western blot analysis of EVs purified from two different cancer cell types confirmed the enrichment of cell-matrix and cell-cell adhesion proteins in SEVs. Consistent with those data, we found that cells exhibit enhanced adhesion to surfaces coated with SEVs compared to an equal protein concentration of LEVs. These data suggest that a major function of SEVs is to promote cellular adhesion.
The COPI coat forms transport vesicles from the Golgi complex and plays a poorly defined role in endocytic trafficking. Here we show that COPI binds K63-linked polyubiquitin and this interaction is crucial for trafficking of a ubiquitinated yeast SNARE (Snc1). Snc1 is a v-SNARE that drives fusion of exocytic vesicles with the plasma membrane, and then recycles through the endocytic pathway to the Golgi for reuse in exocytosis. Removal of ubiquitin from Snc1, or deletion of a β'-COP subunit propeller domain that binds K63-linked polyubiquitin, disrupts Snc1 recycling causing aberrant accumulation in internal compartments. Moreover, replacement of the β'-COP propeller domain with unrelated ubiquitin-binding domains restores Snc1 recycling. These results indicate that ubiquitination, a modification well known to target membrane proteins to the lysosome or vacuole for degradation, can also function as recycling signal to sort a SNARE into COPI vesicles in a non-degradative pathway.
Migration of cells toward chemical cues, or chemotaxis, is important for many biologic processes such as immune defense, wound healing and cancer metastasis. Although chemotaxis is thought to occur in cancer cells, it is less well characterized than chemotaxis of professional immune cells such as neutrophils. Here, we show that cancer cell chemotaxis relies on secretion of exosome-type extracellular vesicles. Migration of fibrosarcoma cells toward a gradient of exosome-depleted serum was diminished by knockdown of the exosome secretion regulator Rab27a. Rescue experiments in which chemotaxis chambers were coated with purified extracellular vesicles demonstrate that exosomes but not microvesicles affect both speed and directionality of migrating cells. Chamber coating with purified fibronectin and fibronectin-depleted exosomes demonstrates that the exosome cargo fibronectin promotes cell speed but cannot account for the role of exosomes in promoting directionality of fibrosarcoma cell movement during chemotaxis. These experiments indicate that exosomes contain multiple motility-promoting cargoes that contribute to different aspects of cell motility.
Recent studies have shown that circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant, widely expressed in mammals, and can display cell-type specific expression. However, how production of circRNAs is regulated and their precise biological function remains largely unknown. To study how circRNAs might be regulated during colorectal cancer progression, we used three isogenic colon cancer cell lines that differ only in KRAS mutation status. Cellular RNAs from the parental DLD-1 cells that contain both wild-type and G13D mutant KRAS alleles and isogenically-matched derivative cell lines, DKO-1 (mutant KRAS allele only) and DKs-8 (wild-type KRAS allele only) were analyzed using RNA-Seq. We developed a bioinformatics pipeline to identify and evaluate circRNA candidates from RNA-Seq data. Hundreds of high-quality circRNA candidates were identified in each cell line. Remarkably, circRNAs were significantly down-regulated at a global level in DLD-1 and DKO-1 cells compared to DKs-8 cells, indicating a widespread effect of mutant KRAS on circRNA abundance. This finding was confirmed in two independent colon cancer cell lines HCT116 (KRAS mutant) and HKe3 (KRAS WT). In all three cell lines, circRNAs were also found in secreted extracellular-vesicles, and circRNAs were more abundant in exosomes than cells. Our results suggest that circRNAs may serve as promising cancer biomarkers.
Exosomes are extracellular vesicles that influence cellular behavior and enhance cancer aggressiveness by carrying bioactive molecules. The mechanisms that regulate exosome secretion are poorly understood. Here, we show that the actin cytoskeletal regulatory protein cortactin promotes exosome secretion. Knockdown or overexpression of cortactin in cancer cells leads to a respective decrease or increase in exosome secretion, without altering exosome cargo content. Live-cell imaging revealed that cortactin controls both trafficking and plasma membrane docking of multivesicular late endosomes (MVEs). Regulation of exosome secretion by cortactin requires binding to the branched actin nucleating Arp2/3 complex and to actin filaments. Furthermore, cortactin, Rab27a, and coronin 1b coordinately control stability of cortical actin MVE docking sites and exosome secretion. Functionally, the addition of purified exosomes to cortactin-knockdown cells rescued defects of those cells in serum-independent growth and invasion. These data suggest a model in which cortactin promotes exosome secretion by stabilizing cortical actin-rich MVE docking sites.
© 2016 Sinha et al.
Proteomics studies have identified Ste20-related proline/alanine-rich kinase (SPAK) and oxidative stress response 1 (OSR1) in exosomes isolated from body fluids such as blood, saliva, and urine. Because proteomics studies likely overestimate the number of exosome proteins, we sought to confirm and extend this observation using traditional biochemical and cell biology methods. We utilized HEK293 cells in culture to verify the packaging of these Ste20 kinases in exosomes. Using a series of centrifugation and filtration steps of conditioned culture medium isolated from HEK293 cells, we isolated nanovesicles in the range of 40-100 nm. We show that these small vesicles express the tetraspanin protein CD63 and lack endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi markers, consistent with these being exosomes. We show by Western blot and immunogold analyses that these exosomes express SPAK, OSR1, and Na-K-Cl cotransporter 1 (NKCC1). We show that exosomes are not only secreted by cells, but also accumulated by adjacent cells. Indeed, exposing cultured cells to exosomes produced by other cells expressing a fluorescently labeled kinase resulted in the kinase finding its way into the cytoplasm of these cells, consistent with the idea of exosomes serving as cell-to-cell communication vessels. Similarly, coculturing cells expressing different fluorescently tagged proteins resulted in the exchange of proteins between cells. In addition, we show that both SPAK and OSR1 kinases entering cells through exosomes are preferentially expressed at the plasma membrane and that the kinases in exosomes are functional and maintain NKCC1 in a phosphorylated state.
Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society.
Secretion of RNAs in extracellular vesicles is a newly recognized form of intercellular communication. A potential regulatory protein for microRNA (miRNA) secretion is the critical RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) component Argonaute 2 (Ago2). Here, we use isogenic colon cancer cell lines to show that overactivity of KRAS due to mutation inhibits localization of Ago2 to multivesicular endosomes (MVEs) and decreases Ago2 secretion in exosomes. Mechanistically, inhibition of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinases (MEKs) I and II, but not Akt, reverses the effect of the activating KRAS mutation and leads to increased Ago2-MVE association and increased exosomal secretion of Ago2. Analysis of cells expressing mutant Ago2 constructs revealed that phosphorylation of Ago2 on serine 387 prevents Ago2-MVE interactions and reduces Ago2 secretion into exosomes. Furthermore, regulation of Ago2 exosomal sorting controls the levels of three candidate miRNAs in exosomes. These data identify a key regulatory signaling event that controls Ago2 secretion in exosomes.
Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Mutant KRAS colorectal cancer (CRC) cells release protein-laden exosomes that can alter the tumor microenvironment. To test whether exosomal RNAs also contribute to changes in gene expression in recipient cells, and whether mutant KRAS might regulate the composition of secreted microRNAs (miRNAs), we compared small RNAs of cells and matched exosomes from isogenic CRC cell lines differing only in KRAS status. We show that exosomal profiles are distinct from cellular profiles, and mutant exosomes cluster separately from wild-type KRAS exosomes. miR-10b was selectively increased in wild-type exosomes, while miR-100 was increased in mutant exosomes. Neutral sphingomyelinase inhibition caused accumulation of miR-100 only in mutant cells, suggesting KRAS-dependent miRNA export. In Transwell co-culture experiments, mutant donor cells conferred miR-100-mediated target repression in wild-type-recipient cells. These findings suggest that extracellular miRNAs can function in target cells and uncover a potential new mode of action for mutant KRAS in CRC.