Agonist-induced extracellular vesicles contribute to the transfer of functional bombesin receptor-subtype 3 to recipient cells

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2022 Jan 15;79(1):72. doi: 10.1007/s00018-021-04114-z.


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are important carriers for biomolecules in the microenvironment that greatly promote intercellular and extracellular communications. However, it is unclear whether bombesin receptor-subtype 3 (BRS-3), an orphan G-protein coupled receptor, can be packed into EVs and functionally transferred to recipient cells. In this study, we applied the synthetic agonist and antagonist to activate and inhibit the BRS-3 in HEK293-BRS-3 cells, whose EVs release was BRS-3 activation dependent. The presence of BRS-3 in harvested EVs was further confirmed by an enhanced green fluorescent protein tag. After recipient cells were co-cultured with these EVs, the presence of BRS-3 in the recipient cells was discovered, whose function was experimentally validated. Quantitative proteomics approach was utilized to decipher the proteome of the EVs derived from HEK293-BRS-3 cells after different stimulations. More than 900 proteins were identified, including 51 systematically dysregulated EVs proteins. The Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) revealed that RhoA signaling pathway was as an essential player for the secretion of EVs. Selective inhibition of RhoA signaling pathway after BRS-3 activation dramatically reversed the increased secretion of EVs. Our data, collectively, demonstrated that EVs contributed to the transfer of functional BRS-3 to the recipient cells, whose secretion was partially regulated by RhoA signaling pathway.

Keywords: Orphan GPCR; Proteomics; RhoA signaling pathway; Vesicles.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Extracellular Vesicles / metabolism*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry
  • Proteomics / methods
  • Receptors, Bombesin / metabolism*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • rhoA GTP-Binding Protein / metabolism


  • Receptors, Bombesin
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • bombesin receptor subtype 3
  • RHOA protein, human
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • rhoA GTP-Binding Protein