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Cancers 2019, 11(4), 476;

Connecting Exosomes and Connexins

Department of Pediatrics, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 February 2019 / Revised: 22 March 2019 / Accepted: 2 April 2019 / Published: 4 April 2019
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Intercellular communication is accomplished by passage of ions and small molecules through gap junction channels in directly contacting cells or by secretion and response to transmitters, hormones and extracellular vesicles in cells that are distant from each other. Recent studies have suggested that there may be overlap of these processes; specifically, small extracellular vesicles may contain subunit gap junction proteins, connexins. We isolated and analyzed extracellular vesicles secreted by cultured microvascular endothelial cells. These vesicles had a diameter of ~120 nm. They contained four exosomal proteins (flotillin-1, CD63, CD81 and Alix) and the gap junction protein, connexin43. They did not contain an endoplasmic reticulum protein (Grp94) or an adherens junction protein (VE-cadherin). Secretion of vesicles was increased by treatment of the cells with staurosporine. Our data confirm that the gap junction protein, connexin43, can be secreted in vesicles with the properties of exosomes. Although the role of vesicular connexin is not clearly known, we speculate that it might participate in docking/fusion of the exosomes with the recipient cell, transmission of vesicular contents, or cellular signaling. View Full-Text
Keywords: connexin; extracellular vesicle; exosome; gap junction; intercellular communication; endothelial cell connexin; extracellular vesicle; exosome; gap junction; intercellular communication; endothelial cell

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Gemel, J.; Kilkus, J.; Dawson, G.; Beyer, E.C. Connecting Exosomes and Connexins. Cancers 2019, 11, 476.

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