Exosomes: from biogenesis and secretion to biological function

Immunol Lett. 2006 Nov 15;107(2):102-8. doi: 10.1016/j.imlet.2006.09.005. Epub 2006 Oct 17.


Exosomes are small microvesicles that are released from late endosomal compartments of cultured cells. Recent work has shown that exosome-like vesicles are also found in many body fluids such as blood, urine, ascites and amnionic fluid. Although the biological function of exosomes is far from being fully understood, exosomes may have general importance in cell biology and immunology. The present review aims to address some of the facets of exosome research with particular emphasis on the immunologist's perspective: (i) exosomes as a novel platform for the ectodomain shedding of membrane proteins by ADAMs and (ii) recent findings on the role of exosomes in tumor biology and immune regulation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endosomes / metabolism*
  • Endosomes / ultrastructure
  • Exocytosis*
  • Humans
  • Immunity / physiology*
  • Protein Transport