Exosomes released during reticulocyte maturation bind to fibronectin via integrin alpha4beta1

Eur J Biochem. 2000 Jan;267(2):583-90. doi: 10.1046/j.1432-1327.2000.01036.x.


Exosomes are vesicles formed in the endosomal compartment and released in the extracellular medium during reticulocyte maturation into erythrocytes. They have a clearing function because of their enrichment with some proteins known to decrease or disappear from the cell surface during maturation, e.g. acetylcholinesterase and transferrin receptor. We show here that integrin alpha4beta1, present on the surface of erythroid precursors but absent from the mature red cell membrane, is at least partly cleared from the reticulocyte plasma membrane by the exosomal pathway. Using flow cytometry, we found that the alpha4 subunit disappears from the reticulocyte surface during in vitro maturation. Two different monoclonal antibodies (B-5G10 and HP 2/1) were used to demonstrate the presence of the alpha4 chain on the exosome surface. Moreover, membrane acetylcholinesterase and lumenal peroxidase-like (i.e. hemoglobin) enzymatic activities were assayed to demonstrate exosome binding to plates coated with increasing fibronectin (FN) concentrations. This interaction was dependent on divalent cations (MnCl2 > MgCl2 > CaCl2). Similarly, vesicles bound to plates coated with the chymotryptic 40 K fragment (FN-40) containing the heparin-binding region of FN. This binding was inhibited by exosome preincubation with fibronectin CS1 peptide and with a monoclonal antibody (HP 2/1) against the integrin alpha4-chain, confirming an alpha4beta1-induced interaction. The importance of the exosome clearance function is highlighted here, since the presence of VLA-4 on reticulocytes often leads to blood circulation complications in some diseases. Moreover, the presence of alpha4beta1 on the exosome surface, by allowing binding to endothelial cells through vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1), might confer another physiological function to the secreted vesicles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / metabolism
  • Antibodies / pharmacology
  • Binding Sites
  • Cations / metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Down-Regulation
  • Erythrocyte Membrane / metabolism
  • Fibronectins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Integrin alpha4beta1
  • Integrins / immunology
  • Integrins / metabolism*
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism
  • Organelles / metabolism*
  • Peptide Fragments / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Lymphocyte Homing / immunology
  • Receptors, Lymphocyte Homing / metabolism*
  • Reticulocytes / physiology*


  • Antibodies
  • Cations
  • Fibronectins
  • Integrin alpha4beta1
  • Integrins
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Receptors, Lymphocyte Homing