Exosomes are tiny vesicles released by cells that carry communications to local and distant locations. Emerging research has revealed the role played by integrins found on the surface of exosomes in delivering information once they reach their destination. But until now, little has been known on the initial upstream steps of the migration process. Using biochemical and imaging approaches, we show here that exosomes isolated from both leukemic and healthy hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells can navigate their way from the cell of origin due to the presence of sialyl Lewis X modifications surface glycoproteins. This, in turn, allows binding to E-selectin at distant sites so the exosomes can deliver their messages. We show that when leukemic exosomes were injected into NSG mice, they traveled to the spleen and spine, sites typical of leukemic cell engraftment. This process, however, was inhibited in mice pre-treated with blocking E-selectin antibodies. Significantly, our proteomic analysis found that among the proteins contained within exosomes are signaling proteins, suggesting that exosomes are trying to deliver active cues to recipient cells that potentially alter their physiology. Intriguingly, the work outlined here also suggests that protein cargo can dynamically change upon exosome binding to receptors such as E-selectin, which thereby could alter the impact it has to regulate the physiology of the recipient cells. Furthermore, as an example of how miRNAs contained in exosomes can influence RNA expression in recipient cells, our analysis showed that miRNAs found in KG1a-derived exosomes target tumor suppressing proteins such as PTEN.
- cargo alterations
- CD34 hematopoietic progenitor stem cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Biology
- Cell Biology