Extracellular vesicles (EVs), including exosomes (Exos), microvesicles (MVs) and apoptotic bodies (ABs) are released in biofluids by virtually all living cells. Tumor-derived Exos and MVs are garnering increasing attention because of their ability to participate in cellular communication or transfer of bioactive molecules (mRNAs, microRNAs, DNA and proteins) between neighboring cancerous or normal cells, and to contribute to human cancer progression. Malignant traits can also be transferred from apoptotic cancer cells to phagocytizing cells, either professional or non-professional. Researchers from University Bourgogne Franche-Comté discuss Exos and ABs and their relationship with human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated tumor development. The potential implication of EVs as theranostic biomarkers is also addressed.
The four different modes of communication by exosomes and microvesicles
Extracellular vesicles serve as vehicles for cell-to-cell communication through horizontal transfer of bioactive molecules (proteins, lipids and nucleic acids). Extracellular vesicles (microvesicles (MVs) or exosomes (Exos)) produced from a secreting cell may be internalized by fusion (1), endocytosis (2), phagocytosis (3) or may interact with the membrane proteins of the target cell (4). Squares, triangles and circles represent membrane-associated proteins.