Although observed for several decades, the release of membrane-enclosed vesicles by cells in their environment has been the subject of increasing interest in recent years. Convincing evidences that vesicles allow exchange of complex informations fuel this rise in interest. But it also becomes clear that different types of secreted vesicles co-exist, with different intracellular origins and modes of formation, and thus probably different compositions and functions. Exosomes are one sub-type of secreted vesicles. They form inside eukaryotic cells in multivesicular endosomes, and are secreted when these compartments fuse with the plasma membrane. My group has studied exosomes secreted by immune dendritic cells and tumor cells, and their roles in interactions between cancer and the immune system, for the past fifteen years. We have identified some of their biogenesis and secretion mechanisms, and used these informations to demonstrate some of their functions in vivo. More recently, we have started comparing their biochemical and functional properties, with those of other secreted extracellular vesicles. recent reviews : M. Colombo, G. Raposo and C. Théry (2014). Biogenesis, secretion and intercellular interactions of exosomes and other extracellular vesicles. Annual Rev Cell Dev Biol. 30: 24.1-24.35. J. Kowal, M. Tkach and C. Théry (2014). Biogenesis and secretion of exosomes. Curr Op Cell Biol. 29: 116-125.
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