The traffic of proteins, lipids and RNA is possible due to the extracellular vesicles, because those are extremely important for cellular communication.
Secreted Extracellular Vesicles
Secreted extracellular vesicles are categorized according to their physical characteristics. Exosomes are generally 50 to 100 nm in diameter and are released due to the fusion of a multivesicular endosome with the plasma membrane.
Microvesicles can be both as small as 100 nm, and far larger, up to 1 µm, and sprout directly from the plasma membrane. Finally, membrane particles are smaller, between 50 and 80 nm, and are characterized by the presence of CD133 on their membranes.
Extracellular vesicles are very important to adaptive immunity. B cells secrete endosomes containing peptide-MHC-II complexes, which selectively bind to T cells. Neurons, oligodendrocytes and microglia secrete extracellular vesicles in the nervous system, and are believed to be very important to neuronal survival, formation and neurite outgrowth.
Potential Disease Biomarkers
Ultimately, the fact that extracellular vesicles are present in most bodily fluids has provoked interest in the ways that they can be used as disease biomarkers.
The most important types of extracellular vesicles are listed in the pathway card and the card also summarizes the biogenesis mechanism, physical characteristics and the most important protein markers for each type.
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