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Exosome study

Karin Ekström, Maria Eldh, and Cecilia Lässer
Krefting Research Centre, Dept of Internal Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg

Exosomes are small membrane vesicles of endocytic origin with a size between 30-90 nm. Exosomes can be released by many cells in culture and they have also been found in a number of body fluids including blood plasma, breast milk, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, amniotic fluid, saliva and urine, indicating a relevance in vivo. Exosomes were discovered in the 80's, but it was not until in the late 90's that exosomes were shown to have an immunological function. Since then, exosomes have been found to have many different functions including T cell activation and tolerance development. They may also be utilized as cancer vaccines and biomarkers. In common for most of these functions is that they take part in the communication between cells.
We first started to study the function of exosomes in allergic airway inflammation. When studying exosomes from mast cells we found that exosomes contain RNA (Nat Cell Biol 9, 654-659.). Until then exosomes were believed to consist of a lipid bilayer and proteins but were not known to contain any nucleic acids. Exosomes contain both mRNA and microRNA, which are functional and can be transferred to other cells. This is a previously unknown and potentially effective mode of communication between cells.
We are characterizing exosomes from different cellular sources and body fluids using a number of methods including Bioanalyzer, flow cytometry, electron microscopy, confocal microscopy, proteomics and mRNA and microRNA profiling using microarrays. We are also interested in the communication between cells, which cells they interact with and how they influence the cells they interact with.


Link to 
RRNEW (Regional Research Network on Extracellular Vesicles)

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Page Manager: Eva-Marie Romell|Last update: 5/6/2013

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