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Nat Cell Biol. 2007 Jun;9(6):654-9. Epub 2007 May 7.

Exosome-mediated transfer of mRNAs and microRNAs is a novel mechanism of genetic exchange between cells.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, The Sahlgrenska Academy, Göteborg University, Sweden.

Abstract

Exosomes are vesicles of endocytic origin released by many cells. These vesicles can mediate communication between cells, facilitating processes such as antigen presentation. Here, we show that exosomes from a mouse and a human mast cell line (MC/9 and HMC-1, respectively), as well as primary bone marrow-derived mouse mast cells, contain RNA. Microarray assessments revealed the presence of mRNA from approximately 1300 genes, many of which are not present in the cytoplasm of the donor cell. In vitro translation proved that the exosome mRNAs were functional. Quality control RNA analysis of total RNA derived from exosomes also revealed presence of small RNAs, including microRNAs. The RNA from mast cell exosomes is transferable to other mouse and human mast cells. After transfer of mouse exosomal RNA to human mast cells, new mouse proteins were found in the recipient cells, indicating that transferred exosomal mRNA can be translated after entering another cell. In summary, we show that exosomes contain both mRNA and microRNA, which can be delivered to another cell, and can be functional in this new location. We propose that this RNA is called "exosomal shuttle RNA" (esRNA).

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