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Trends Cell Biol. 2017 Mar;27(3):172-188. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2016.11.003. Epub 2016 Dec 13.

Extracellular Vesicles: Unique Intercellular Delivery Vehicles.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology and Center for Molecular Imaging Research, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Program in Neuroscience, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA; Department of Neurosurgery, Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, Institute of Neurosciences, University Medical Center, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX Utrecht, The Netherlands.
2
Department of Neurology and Center for Molecular Imaging Research, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Program in Neuroscience, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.
3
Departments of Cancer Biology and Cell and Developmental Biology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN 37232, USA. Electronic address: alissa.weaver@vanderbilt.edu.

Abstract

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are a heterogeneous collection of membrane-bound carriers with complex cargoes including proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids. While the release of EVs was previously thought to be only a mechanism to discard nonfunctional cellular components, increasing evidence implicates EVs as key players in intercellular and even interorganismal communication. EVs confer stability and can direct their cargoes to specific cell types. EV cargoes also appear to act in a combinatorial manner to communicate directives to other cells. This review focuses on recent findings and knowledge gaps in the area of EV biogenesis, release, and uptake. In addition, we highlight examples whereby EV cargoes control basic cellular functions, including motility and polarization, immune responses, and development, and contribute to diseases such as cancer and neurodegeneration.

KEYWORDS:

exosomes; extracellular vesicles; microvesicles

PMID:
27979573
PMCID:
PMC5318253
DOI:
10.1016/j.tcb.2016.11.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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