Surfaceome of Exosomes Secreted from the Colorectal Cancer Cell Line SW480: Peripheral and Integral Membrane Proteins Analyzed by Proteolysis and TX114

Rong Xu, David W. Greening, Maoshan Chen, Alin Rai, Hong Ji, Nobuhiro Takahashi, Richard J. Simpson

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Exosomes are important bidirectional cell–cell communicators in normal and pathological physiology. Although exosomal surface membrane proteins (surfaceome) enable target cell recognition and are an attractive source of disease marker, they are poorly understood. Here, a comprehensive surfaceome analysis of exosomes secreted by the colorectal cancer cell line SW480 is described. Sodium carbonate extraction/Triton X-114 phase separation and mild proteolysis (proteinase K, PK) of intact exosomes is used in combination with label-free quantitative mass spectrometry to identify 1025 exosomal proteins of which 208 are predicted to be integral membrane proteins (IMPs) according to TOPCONS and GRAVY scores. Interrogation of UniProt database-annotated proteins reveals 124 predicted peripherally-associated membrane proteins (PMPs). Surprisingly, 108 RNA-binding proteins (RBPs)/RNA nucleoproteins (RNPs) are found in the carbonate/Triton X-114 insoluble fraction. Mild PK treatment of SW480-GFP labeled exosomes reveal 58 proteolytically cleaved IMPs and 14 exoplasmic PMPs (e.g., CLU/GANAB/LGALS3BP). Interestingly, 18 RBPs/RNPs (e.g., EIF3L/RPL6) appear bound to the outer exosome surface since they are sensitive to PK proteolysis. The finding that outer surface-localized miRNA Let-7a-5p is RNase A–resistant, but degraded by a combination of RNase A/PK treatment suggests exosomal miRNA species also reside on the outer surface of exosomes bound to RBPs/RNPs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1700453
Number of pages14
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • exosomes
  • extracellular vesicles
  • integral membrane proteins
  • membrane shaving
  • surfaceome

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