Cellular microvesicle pathways can be targeted to transfer genetic information between non-immune cells

Amy M. Skinner, S. Lee O'Neil, Peter Kurre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Eukaryotic cell communication is based on protein signaling cascades that require direct cell-cell apposition, or receptor engagement by secreted molecules. The transmission of genetic information is thought to be uncommon, apart from recent reports of exosomal RNA transfer in immune and glioblastoma cells. We wished to examine if existing microvesicle pathways could be directly targeted for the horizontal transfer of RNA genomes in less specialized cell types. Using replication-deficient retrovirus vector, studies herein confirm that a range of cells routinely sequester a small population of these RNA genomes in a non-canonical compartment, refractory to antibody neutralization and unaffected by specific pharmacological inhibition of pathways involved in conventional viral trafficking. Our experiments further reveal the cytoplasmic colocalization of vector genomes with tetraspanin proteins as well as the PI-3-kinase sensitive trafficking and subsequent transmission to 2° targets. Collectively, our results indicate a scalable process whereby cells route vector genomes to multivesicular bodies (MVB) for cytoplasmic trafficking and exosomal release. Our findings imply that cells can serve to deliver recombinant payload, targeted for the stable genetic modification of 2° target cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere6219
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 13 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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