Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

Ubiquitination as a Mechanism To Transport Soluble Mycobacterial and Eukaryotic Proteins to Exosomes.

PMID 26246139


Exosomes are extracellular vesicles of endocytic origin that function in intercellular communication. Our previous studies indicate that exosomes released from Mycobacterium tuberculosis-infected macrophages contain soluble mycobacterial proteins. However, it was unclear how these secreted proteins were targeted to exosomes. In this study, we determined that exosome production by the murine macrophage cell line RAW264.7 requires the endosomal sorting complexes required for transport and that trafficking of mycobacterial proteins from phagocytosed bacilli to exosomes was dependent on protein ubiquitination. Moreover, soluble mycobacterial proteins, when added exogenously to RAW264.7 or human HEK293 cells, were endocytosed, ubiquitinated, and released via exosomes. This suggested that endocytosed proteins could be recycled from cells through exosomes. This hypothesis was supported using the tumor-associated protein He4, which, when endocytosed by RAW264.7 or HEK293 cells, was transported to exosomes in a ubiquitin-dependent manner. Our data suggest that ubiquitination is a modification sufficient for trafficking soluble proteins within the phagocytic/endocytic network to exosomes.