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May 2019 Handbook of experimental pharmacology

Lipids in Exosome Biology.


Egea-Jimenez AL, Zimmermann P


Extracellular vesicles (EVs), and exosomes in particular, were initially considered as « garbage bags » for secretion of undesired cellular components. This view has changed considerably over the last two decades, and exosomes have now emerged as important organelles controlling cell-to-cell signaling. They are present in biological fluids and have important roles in the communication between cells in physiological and pathological processes. They are envisioned for clinical use as carriers of biomarkers, therapeutic targets, and vehicles for drug delivery. Important efforts are being made to characterize the contents of these vesicles and to understand the mechanisms that govern their biogenesis and modes of action. This chapter aims to recapitulate the place given to lipids in our understanding of exosome biology. Besides their structural role and their function as carriers, certain lipids and lipid-modifying enzymes seem to exert privileged functions in this mode of cellular communication. By extension, the use of selective « lipid inhibitors » might turn out to be interesting modulators of exosomal-based cell signaling.

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