Biogenesis of the posterior pole is mediated by the exosome/microvesicle protein-sorting pathway

Beiyi Shen, Yi Fang, Ning Wu, Stephen J. Gould

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Biogenesis of the posterior pole is critical to directed cell migration and other polarity-dependent processes. We show here that proteins are targeted to the posterior pole on the basis of higher order oligomerization and plasma membrane binding, the same elements that target proteins to exosomes/ microvesicles (EMVs), HIV, and other retrovirus particles. We also demonstrate that the polarization of the EMV protein-sorting pathway can occur in morphologically non-polarized cells, defines the site of uropod formation, is induced by increased expression of EMV cargo proteins, and is evolutionarily conserved between humans and the protozoan Dictyostelium discoideum. Based on these results, we propose a mechanism of posterior pole biogenesis in which elevated levels of EMV cargoes (i) polarize the EMV protein-sorting pathway, (ii) generate a nascent posterior pole, and (iii) prime cells for signal-induced biogenesis of a uropod. This model also offers a mechanistic explanation for the polarized budding of EMVs and retroviruses, including HIV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44162-44176
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number51
StatePublished - Dec 23 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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