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Projects. Life and Matter Sciences

Molecular mechanisms involved in the production of exosomes in cell stress

Lead Researcher: Antonio Zorzano Olarte
Research Centre: Instituto de Investigación Biomédica (IRB) Barcelona.


Antonio Zorzano OlarteExtracellular vesicles (EVs) are released by many cells and provide a mechanism for intercellular communication in an autocrine and paracrine fashion. EVs of various sizes, namely microvesicles or exosomes are released by most eukaryotic cells. EVs are known to contain bioactive molecules including protein and miRNAs species that are able to regulate physiological functions and gene expression in target cells.

EV release is thought to be a controlled process and to be influenced by different factors, which include cellular stress, hypoxia or calcium signalling. Adipocytes have been shown to produce extracellular vesicles of heterogeneous sizes. Several studies suggest that EVs released by adipocytes which in physiological conditions contribute to regulate lipid deposition in adipocytes and angiogenesis. Our unpublished results suggest that EVs produced by hypoxic adipocytes have a negative impact on insulin signalling and glucose metabolism, thus potentially exacerbating the negative effects of obesity.

In this connection, this project aims to understand the molecular mechanisms involved in the production and release of exosomes during cell stress, and more specifically during the conditions of metabolic stress and hypoxia of adipocytes. In this sense, a relevant aspect to be analyzed is the contribution of some key proteins of autophagy in that process.

We hope to generate new relevant information in the understanding of how the exosomes occur in pathological states such as obesity, which may allow the identification of biomarkers derived from exosomes as well as the identification of new therapeutic approaches to reduce the pathologies associated with obesity.

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