Exosome adherence and internalization by hepatic stellate cells triggers sphingosine 1-phosphate-dependent migration

Ruisi Wang, Qian Ding, Usman Yaqoob, Thiago D.M. De Assuncao, Vikas K. Verma, Petra Hirsova, Sheng Cao, Debabrata Mukhopadhyay, Robert C. Huebert, Vijay H. Shah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Exosomes are cell-derived extracellular vesicles thought to promote intercellular communication by delivering specific content to target cells. The aim of this study was to determine whether endothelial cell (EC)-derived exosomes could regulate the phenotype of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs). Initial microarray studies showed that fibroblast growth factor 2 induced a 2.4-fold increase in mRNA levels of sphingosine kinase 1 (SK1). Exosomes derived from an SK1-overexpressing EC line increased HSC migration 3.2-fold. Migration was not conferred by the dominant negative SK1 exosome. Incubation of HSCs with exosomes was also associated with an 8.3-fold increase in phosphorylation of AKT and 2.5-fold increase in migration. Exosomes were found to express the matrix protein and integrin ligand fibronectin (FN) by Western blot analysis and transmission electron microscopy. Blockade of the FN-integrin interaction with a CD29 neutralizing antibody or the RGD peptide attenuated exosome-induced HSC AKT phosphorylation and migration. Inhibition of endocytosis with transfection of dynamin siRNA, the dominant negative dynamin GTPase construct Dyn2K44A, or the pharmacological inhibitor Dynasore significantly attenuated exosome-induced AKT phosphorylation. SK1 levels were increased in serum exosomes derived from mice with experimental liver fibrosis, and SK1 mRNA levels were up-regulated 2.5-fold in human liver cirrhosis patient samples. Finally, S1PR2 inhibition protected mice from CCl4-induced liver fibrosis. Therefore, EC-derived SK1-containing exosomes regulate HSC signaling and migration through FNintegrin- dependent exosome adherence and dynamin-dependent exosome internalization. These findings advance our understanding of EC/HSC cross-talk and identify exosomes as a potential target to attenuate pathobiology signals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30684-30696
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number52
StatePublished - Dec 25 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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