Special Issue "Membrane-Bound Mechanisms of Intercellular Communication in Healthy and Cancerous Tissues: Extracellular vesicles, Cytonemes and Tunneling Nanotubes"

A special issue of Cells (ISSN 2073-4409).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Aurelio Lorico Website E-Mail
College of Medicine, Touro University Nevada, 874 American Pacific Drive, Henderson, NV 89014, USA
Interests: extracellular vesicle; nuclear transport; spathasome; cell-cell fusion
Guest Editor
Dr. Denis Corbeil Website E-Mail
Tissue Engineering Laboratories, Biotechnology Center (BIOTEC) and Center for Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering (CMCB), Technische Universität Dresden, 01307 Dresden, Germany
Interests: CD133; extracellular vesicle; membrane polarity; microvillus; stem cell; tunneling nanotube
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Riccardo Alessandro Website E-Mail
Dipartimento di Biopatologia e Biotecnologie Mediche, Università degli studi di Palermo, sezione di Biologia e Genetica, Palermo, Italy
Interests: cancer biology; exosomes; cancer cells; cell migration; cell adhesion; endothelial cells; cell biology; angiogenesis; signal transduction; cancer research; metastasis; tumor invasion
Guest Editor
Dr. Germana Rappa E-Mail
College of Medicine, Touro University Nevada, 874 American Pacific Drive, Henderson, NV 89014, USA
Interests: breast cancer; melanoma; multidrug resistance; extracellular vesicles

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

For multicellular organisms to form and function, cells must communicate and interact with their neighbors in a specific and effective way. Similarly, for cancer to develop and spread locally and at a distance, intercellular communication is of paramount importance. If we could specifically interfere with intercellular communication in the cancer microenvironment, without disrupting communication between healthy cells in other parts of the body, we could consider developing new therapeutic strategies. To this end, it is essential to learn the molecular and biological mechanisms of intercellular communication in healthy and cancerous tissues. Intercellular communication mechanisms dependent on membrane structures have recently attracted attention, particularly with the burst of scientific literature in the field of extracellular membrane vesicles (EVs). The role of EVs as a vehicle-like device in intercellular communication appears to be an important multifaceted regulator of tumor progression. For example, EVs derived from cancer cells, generally released in greater numbers than those of normal proliferative cells, can modulate immune responses at different levels, transfer oncogenic proteins and nucleic acids, reprogram stromal cells, promote neo-angiogenesis, and transfer the drug-resistance phenotype. Despite the abundance of reports highlighting these EV-related events in cancer, there is little mechanistic knowledge of the intracellular pathways of EVs upon their internalization, the mechanism(s) of cargo release, and their molecular target(s) located in cytoplasm and nuclear compartment of host cells. Similarly, other membrane-bound structures, such as cytonemes and tunneling nanotubes, have become new biological mechanisms for disseminating biological information from one cell to another in a tissue. Such long, plasma membrane protrusions rich in F-actin that connect cells at short or long distances could be linked to the development of cancer.

The aim of this Special Issue is to provide novel insight into the membrane-bound structures involved in intercellular communication, including EVs such as exosomes, microvesicles, and other extracellular membrane particles, as well as plasma membrane projections, including cytonemes and tunneling nanotubes. Colleagues working on these themes and developing new technological tools to study them are invited to submit research articles, reviews, communications, perspectives, and case reports that can improve the general knowledge of this exciting field.

Prof. Aurelio Lorico
Dr. Denis Corbeil
Prof. Riccardo Alessandro
Dr. Germana Rappa
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Cells is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • extracellular vesicles: microvesicles, exosomes, and other membrane particles
  • cytoneme and other plasma membrane projections
  • tunneling nanotubes

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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