Secreted midbody remnants are a class of extracellular vesicles molecularly distinct from exosomes and microparticles

Alin Rai, David W. Greening, Rong Xu, Maoshan Chen, Wittaya Suwakulsiri, Richard J. Simpson

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43 Citations (Scopus)


During the final stages of cell division, newly-formed daughter cells remain connected by a thin intercellular bridge containing the midbody (MB), a microtubule-rich organelle responsible for cytokinetic abscission. Following cell division the MB is asymmetrically inherited by one daughter cell where it persists as a midbody remnant (MB-R). Accumulating evidence shows MB-Rs are secreted (sMB-Rs) into the extracellular medium and engulfed by neighbouring non-sister cells. While much is known about intracellular MB-Rs, sMB-Rs are poorly understood. Here, we report the large-scale purification and biochemical characterisation of sMB-Rs released from colon cancer cells, including profiling of their proteome using mass spectrometry. We show sMB-Rs are an abundant class of membrane-encapsulated extracellular vesicle (200-600 nm) enriched in core cytokinetic proteins and molecularly distinct from exosomes and microparticles. Functional dissection of sMB-Rs demonstrated that they are engulfed by, and accumulate in, quiescent fibroblasts where they promote cellular transformation and an invasive phenotype.

Original languageEnglish
Article number400
Number of pages12
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes

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