Extracellular vesicles (EVs) play an important role in the biology of various organisms, including fungi, in which they are required for the trafficking of molecules across the cell wall. Fungal EVs contain a complex combination of macromolecules, including proteins, lipids and glycans. In this work, we aimed to describe and characterize RNA in EV preparations from the human pathogens Cryptococcus neoformans, Paracoccidiodes brasiliensis and Candida albicans, and from the model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The EV RNA content consisted mostly of molecules less than 250 nt long and the reads obtained aligned with intergenic and intronic regions or specific positions within the mRNA.
Researchers at UNIFESP identified 114 ncRNAs, among them, six small nucleolar (snoRNA), two small nuclear (snRNA), two ribosomal (rRNA) and one transfer (tRNA) common to all the species considered, together with 20 sequences with features consistent with miRNAs. They also observed some copurified mRNAs, as suggested by reads covering entire transcripts, including those involved in vesicle-mediated transport and metabolic pathways. They characterized for the first time RNA molecules present in EVs produced by fungi. These results suggest that RNA-containing vesicles may be determinant for various biological processes, including cell communication and pathogenesis.