Tetraspanin-6 negatively regulates exosome production.
Exosomes, extracellular vesicles (EVs) of endosomal origin, emerge as master regulators of cell-to-cell signaling in physiology and disease. Exosomes are highly enriched in tetraspanins (TSPNs) and syndecans (SDCs), the latter occurring mainly in proteolytically cleaved form, as membrane-spanning C-terminal fragments of the proteins. While both protein families are membrane scaffolds appreciated for their role in exosome formation, composition, and activity, we currently ignore whether these work together to control exosome biology. Here we show that TSPN6, a poorly characterized tetraspanin, acts as a negative regulator of exosome release, supporting the lysosomal degradation of SDC4 and syntenin. We demonstrate that TSPN6 tightly associates with SDC4, the SDC4-TSPN6 association dictating the association of TSPN6 with syntenin and the TSPN6-dependent lysosomal degradation of SDC4-syntenin. TSPN6 also inhibits the shedding of the SDC4 ectodomain, mimicking the effects of matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors. Taken together, our data identify TSPN6 as a regulator of the trafficking and processing of SDC4 and highlight an important physical and functional interconnection between these membrane scaffolds for the production of exosomes. These findings clarify our understanding of the molecular determinants governing EV formation and have potentially broad impact for EV-related biomedicine.Read the article