Circulating Exosomal Proteins are linked to Neuropathogenesis in SIV‐infected Rhesus Macaque: A Proteomic Approach

Extracellular Vesicles

Combined antiretroviral therapy suppresses HIV replication, but 30‐60% of patients suffer from HIV‐1 associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). Studies are uncovering the role of extracellular vesicles (EVs), especially exosomes, in HIV CNS infection. Using proteomics, we investigated possible circulating exosomal protein links to neuropathogenesis in SIV‐infected rhesus macaque (RM). Exosomes were isolated from sera of SIV‐infected (SIV‐Exo) and uninfected (CTL‐Exo) RM (N = 3/group) by QIAGEN exoEasy kit and characterized by the qNano‐IZON system. Proteomic analysis of the isolated exosomes was performed using liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC‐MS/MS). qNano‐IZON analysis indicated that isolated EVs were predominantly exosomes (particle size < 150 nm). In the LC‐MS/MS study, 5,654 proteins were quantified, with 236 proteins (~ 4%) significantly differentially expressed (DE) between CTL‐Exo and SIV‐Exo. Two or more unique peptides were detected in 85% (4777/5654) of quantified proteins, and in 89% (211/236) of significant DE proteins, indicating the depth of analysis. We quantified most of the exosome‐associated proteins (tetraspanins, enzymes, lipid rafts, cytoskeletal, and endosome‐specific proteins) reported in previous studies. The heat‐maps and hierarchical clustering indicated that proteins involved in latent viral reactivation (heat shock transcription factor 1), inflammation (complement factor H, antioxidants, glycoproteins), unfolded protein response (UPR) (proteasome activators, cochaperones), neuropathology (amyloid beta [Aβ] precursor, chromogranin‐A and ‐B), and signaling (cytoskeleton regulators, cyclin‐H, mTOR complex 2, CD74) were expressed at significantly higher levels in SIV‐Exo than CTL‐Exo. However, proteins involved in mitochondrial (Mt) fission (Mt‐fission 1, ‐fission factor, and fission regulator 1), and ATP production (Mt Complex‐I, ‐IV, and ‐V), that play a critical role in the brain energy supply, were significantly decreased in SIV‐Exo. Moreover, exosomal‐proteins involved in autophagy‐mediated degradation (autophagy related 9A, ‐2B, lysosomal associated membrane protein 2), endosomal recycling (sorting nexin 4) and exocytosis (synaptogyrin), sprouting angiogenesis (jumonij domain‐containing 6), and cytoskeleton organization (calponin) were also expressed at significantly lower levels in SIV‐Exo than CTL‐Exo. Our novel findings suggest that circulating exosomal proteins are associated with viral reactivation, inflammation, UPR, mitochondrial dysfunction, defective autophagy, and Aβ and Tau pathology that may elucidate the etiology of HAND, and possibly provide novel therapeutic targets.

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Recent Publications

Cigarette smoke (CS) represents one of the most relevant environmental risk factors for several chronic pathologies. Tissue damage caused by CS exposure is mediated, at least in part, by oxidative stress induced by its toxic and pro-oxidant components. Evidence demonstrates that extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by various cell types exposed to CS extract (CSE) are characterized by altered biochemical cargo and gained pathological properties. In the present study, we evaluated the content of oxidized proteins and phospholipid fatty acid profiles of EVs released by human bronchial epithelial BEAS-2B cells treated with CSE. This specific molecular characterization has hitherto not been performed. After confirmation that CSE reduces viability of BEAS-2B cells and elevates intracellular ROS levels, in a dose-dependent manner, we demonstrated that 24 h exposure at 1% CSE, a concentration that only slight modifies cell viability but increases ROS levels, was able to increase carbonylated protein levels in cells and released EVs. The release of oxidatively modified proteins via EVs might represent a mechanism used by cells to remove toxic proteins in order to avoid their intracellular overloading. Moreover, 1% CSE induced only few changes in the fatty acid asset in BEAS-2B cell membrane phospholipids, whereas several rearrangements were observed in EVs released by CSE-treated cells. The impact of changes in acyl chain composition of CSE-EVs accounted for the increased saturation levels of phospholipids, a membrane parameter that might influence EV stability, uptake and, at least in part, EV-mediated biological effects. The present in vitro study adds new information concerning the biochemical composition of CSE-related EVs, useful to predict their biological effects on target cells. Furthermore, the information regarding the presence of oxidized proteins and the specific membrane features of CSE-related EVs can be useful to define the utilization of circulating EVs as marker for diagnosing of CS-induced lung damage and/or CS-related diseases.

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