Extracellular Vesicles

Extracellular Vesicles (shortened as EV's) are sub-micron sized particles which have an enclosing membrane. They are one mechanism for inter-cellular communication. They are composed of lipids and proteins, and there may be nucleic acid inside (the cargo)1.

There is potential for using EV's as biomarkers, since it is believed that the regulation of the release and composition of these particles can be correlated to certain disease. The biggest challenge is that most EV's are <500nm in diameter, and therefore hard to detect by standard means, and that one must be able to detect rare particles (perhaps 1% of the particles change between healthy and non healthy humans).

Question

Do other organisms use EV's for intracellular communication? I assume most animals do, what about plants?


  1. Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, 16, 1423-1436 (Libregts, ..., E.N.M. Nolte-'T Hoen, ...) 

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