MSC secretes at least 3 EV types each with a unique permutation of membrane lipid, protein and RNA

J Extracell Vesicles. 2016 Feb 24:5:29828. doi: 10.3402/jev.v5.29828. eCollection 2016.


Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC), a widely used adult stem cell candidate for regenerative medicine, has been shown to exert some of its therapeutic effects through the secretion of extracellular vesicles (EVs). These homogenously sized EVs of 100-150 ηm exhibited many exosome-like biophysical and biochemical properties and carry both proteins and RNAs. Recently, exosome-associated proteins in this MSC EV preparation were found to segregate primarily to those EVs that bind cholera toxin B chain (CTB), a GM1 ganglioside-specific ligand, and pulse-chase experiments demonstrated that these EVs have endosomal origin and carried many of the exosome-associated markers. Here, we report that only a fraction of the MSC EV proteome was found in CTB-bound EVs. Using Annexin V (AV) and Shiga toxin B subunit (ST) with affinities for phosphatidylserine and globotriaosylceramide, respectively, AV- and a ST-binding EV were identified. CTB-, AV- and ST-binding EVs all carried actin. However, the AV-binding EVs carried low or undetectable levels of the exosome-associated proteins. Only the ST-binding EVs carried RNA and EDA-containing fibronectin. Proteins in AV-binding EVs were also different from those released by apoptotic MSCs. CTB- and AV-binding activities were localized to the plasma membrane and cytoplasm of MSCs, while ST-binding activity was localized to the nucleus. Together, this study demonstrates that cells secrete many types of EVs. Specifically, MSCs secrete at least 3 types. They can be differentially isolated based on their affinities for membrane lipid-binding ligands. As the subcellular sites of the binding activities of these ligands and cargo load are different for each EV type, they are likely to have a different biogenesis pathway and possibly different functions.

Keywords: annexin V; cholera toxin B; exosome; mesenchymal stem cell; shiga toxin.