Microvesicles are small membrane-bound particles comprised of exosomes and varioussized extracellular vesicles. These are released by several cell types. Microvesicles have a variety of cellular functions from communication to mediating growth and differentiation. Microvesicles contain proteins and nucleic acids. Previously, we showed that plasma microvesicles contain microRNAs (miRNAs). Based on our previous report, the majority of peripheral blood microvesicles are derived from platelets, while mononuclear phagocytes, including macrophages, are the second most abundant population. Here, we characterized macrophage-derived microvesicles and explored their role in the differentiation of naive monocytes. We also identified the miRNA content of the macrophage-derived microvesicles. We found that RNA molecules contained in the macrophage-derived microvesicles were transported to target cells, including mono cytes, endothelial cells, epithelial cells, and fibroblasts. Furthermore, we found that miR-223 was transported to target cells and was functionally active. Based on our observations, we hypothesize that microvesicles bind to and activate target cells. Furthermore, we find that microvesicles induce the differentiation of macrophages. Thus, defining key components of this response may identify novel targets to regulate host defense and inflammation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology