Interneuronal exchange and functional integration of synaptobrevin via extracellular vesicles

Extracellular Vesicles

Recent studies have investigated the composition and functional effects of extracellular vesicles (EVs) secreted by a variety of cell types. However, the mechanisms underlying the impact of these vesicles on neurotransmission remain unclear. Here, we isolated EVs secreted by rat and mouse hippocampal neurons and found that they contain synaptic-vesicle-associated proteins, in particular the vesicular SNARE (soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor [NSF]-attachment protein receptor) synaptobrevin (also called VAMP). Using a combination of electrophysiology and live-fluorescence imaging, we demonstrate that this extracellular pool of synaptobrevins can rapidly integrate into the synaptic vesicle cycle of host neurons via a CD81-dependent process and selectively augment inhibitory neurotransmission as well as specifically rescue neurotransmission in synapses deficient in synaptobrevin. These findings uncover a novel means of interneuronal communication and functional coupling via exchange of vesicular SNAREs.

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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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