The plenary address of Friday’s session of the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles annual meeting (ISEV 2016) in Rotterdam was delivered by the eminent immunologist and cell biologist Francisco Sanchez-Madrid, PhD, and was titled “Immune Cell-Cell Communication: Mechanisms of MicroRNA and Protein Sorting into Exosomes.” Dr. Sanchez-Madrid is Professor at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid and Head of the Immunology Department at the La Princesa Hospital in Madrid. His address to the 800+ attendees in the filled amphitheater focused on two main topics: the exosome-driven transfer of genetic and mitochondria constituents through immune synapses [an immune synapse is the interface between an antigen-presenting cell or target cell and a lymphocyte such as an effector T-cell or natural killer cell; an immune synapse is also defined as a temporary membrane structure formed between immune cells in contact so as to effect communication], and the mechanisms of miRNA and protein sorting in exosomes. He first reported that there is unidirectional transfer of miRNA-loaded exosomes from activated T-cells at the immune synapse. He then showed evidence that mtDNA-binding proteins are contained in these exosomes, and, in fact, next-gen sequencing demonstrated that the entire mitochondrial genome is present in some of the exosomes. He then investigated whether mtDNA might trigger a signaling response in recipient cells. He noted that there is a potential role of T-cell exosomes as inhibitors of the innate immune response. Dr. Sanchez-Madrid then turned to a discussion of miRNA and protein sorting into exosomes.
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