Extracellular membrane vesicles as a mechanism of cell-to-cell communication: advantages and disadvantages.

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214 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Microvesicles represent a newly-identified mechanism of intercellular communication. Two different types of microvesicles have been identified: membrane-derived vesicles (EVs) and exosomes. EVs originate by direct budding from the plasma membrane, while exosomes arise from ectocytosis of multivesicular bodies. Recent attention has focused on the capacity of EVs to alter the phenotype of neighboring cells to make them resemble EV-producing cells. Stem cells are an abundant source of EVs, and the interaction between stem cells and the microenvironment (i.e. stem cell niche) plays a critical role in determining stem cell phenotype. The stem cell niche hypothesis predicts that stem cell number is limited by the availability of niches releasing the necessary signals for self-renewal and survival, and the niche thus provides a mechanism for controlling and limiting stem cell numbers. EVs may play a fundamental role in this context by transferring genetic information between cells. EVs can transfer mRNA and microRNA to target cells, both of which may be involved in the change in target-cell phenotype towards that of EV-producing cells. The exchange of genetic information may be bidirectional, and EV-mediated transfer of genetic information after tissue damage may reprogram stem cells to acquire the phenotypic features of the injured tissue cells. In addition, stem cell-derived EVs may induce the de-differentiation of cells that survive injury, by promoting their re-entry into the cell cycle and subsequently increasing the possibility of tissue regeneration.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalAMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSIOLOGY. CELL PHYSIOLOGY
Volume306
Publication statusPublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology

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