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Scientific reports

Different populations of Wnt-containing vesicles are individually released from polarized epithelial cells.


PMID 27765945

Abstract

Accumulating evidence suggests that exosomes are heterogeneous in molecular composition and physical properties. Here we examined whether epithelial cells secrete a heterogeneous population of exosomes, and if that is the case, whether epithelial cell polarity affects release of different populations of exosomes, especially that of those carrying Wnt. Sucrose-density ultracentrifugation and molecular marker analysis revealed that different populations of exosomes or exosome-like vesicles were released from MDCK cells depending on the cell polarity. Wnt3a associated with these vesicles were detectable in culture media collected from both apical and basolateral sides of the cells. Basolaterally secreted Wnt3a were co-fractionated with a typical exosomal protein TSG101 in fractions having typical exosome densities. In contrast, most of apically secreted Wnt3a, as well as Wnt11, were co-fractionated with CD63 and Hsp70, which are also common to the most exosomes, but recovered in higher density fractions. Wnt3a exhibiting similar floatation behavior to the apically secreted ones were also detectable in the culture media of Wnt3a-expressing L and HEK293 cells. The lipidation of Wnt3a was required for its basolateral secretion in exosomes but was dispensable for the apical one. Thus, epithelial cells release Wnt via distinct populations of vesicles differing in secretion polarity and lipidation dependency.

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