Exosomes in developmental signalling

Development. 2016 Jul 15;143(14):2482-93. doi: 10.1242/dev.126516.


In order to achieve coordinated growth and patterning during development, cells must communicate with one another, sending and receiving signals that regulate their activities. Such developmental signals can be soluble, bound to the extracellular matrix, or tethered to the surface of adjacent cells. Cells can also signal by releasing exosomes - extracellular vesicles containing bioactive molecules such as RNA, DNA and enzymes. Recent work has suggested that exosomes can also carry signalling proteins, including ligands of the Notch receptor and secreted proteins of the Hedgehog and WNT families. Here, we describe the various types of exosomes and their biogenesis. We then survey the experimental strategies used so far to interfere with exosome formation and critically assess the role of exosomes in developmental signalling.

Keywords: Exosomes; Hedgehog; Signalling; WNT.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinogenesis / metabolism
  • Carcinogenesis / pathology
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Exosomes / metabolism*
  • Growth and Development*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Signal Transduction*