Exosome and microvesicle mediated phene transfer in mammalian cells.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Extracellular vesicles (EVs), e.g. exosomes and microvesicles, emerge as new signaling organelles in the exchange of information between cells at the paracrine and systemic level. It is clear that these virus like particles carry complex biological information that can elicit a pleiotropic response in recipient cells with potential relevance in physiology as well as in cancer and other pathological conditions. Numerous studies convincingly show that the molecular composition of EVs closely reflects their cell or tissue of origin. Thus, the signaling status of donor cells, more specifically their endosomal compartments, may largely determine the biological output in recipient cells, a process that we then may conceptualize as vesicle mediated phene transfer. Whereas more conventional modes of cell-cell communication mostly depend on extracellular ligand concentration and cell-surface receptor availability, the magnitude of the EV signaling response relies on the capture and uptake by target cells, allowing release of the EV content. Numerous reports point at the intriguing possibility that, among thousands of mRNAs, miRNAs, and proteins, single EV constituents effectuate the biological response, e.g. stimulation of angiogenesis and cancer cell metastasis, in recipient cells; however, we find it conceivable that strategies targeted at general mechanisms of EV function should provide more rational avenues for therapeutic intervention directed at the EV system. Such strategies include manipulation of EV formation in the endolysosomal system, EV stability in the extracellular milieu, and EV entry into target cells. Here, we provide important insights into potential mechanisms of EV transport in mammalian cells and how these may be targeted.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cancer and Oncology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-38
JournalSeminars in Cancer Biology
Issue numberApr 23
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch