Syntenin and CD63 Promote Exosome Biogenesis from the Plasma Membrane by Blocking Cargo Endocytosis

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Exosomes are small extracellular vesicles important in health and disease. Syntenin is thought to drive the biogenesis of CD63 exosomes by recruiting Alix and the ESCRT machinery to endosomes, initiating an endosome-mediated pathway of exosome biogenesis. Contrary to this model, we show here that syntenin drives the biogenesis of CD63 exosomes by blocking CD63 endocytosis, thereby allowing CD63 to accumulate at the plasma membrane, the primary site of exosome biogenesis. Consistent with these results, we find that inhibitors of endocytosis induce the exosomal secretion of CD63, that endocytosis inhibits the vesicular secretion of exosome cargo proteins, and that high-level expression of CD63 itself also inhibits endocytosis. These and other results indicate that exosomes bud primarily from the plasma membrane, that endocytosis inhibits their loading into exosomes, that syntenin and CD63 are expression-dependent regulators of exosome biogenesis, and that syntenin drives the biogenesis of CD63 exosomes even in Alix knockout cells.

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  1. Reassessment of exosome biogenesis

    I think the cytoplasm/extracellular facing portion of receptors depicted in Figure 7 don't seem to preserve topology? For example if you follow the purple receptor, the terminal yellow tail is sometimes cytoplasmic facing, sometimes extracellular/lumen facing. I only mention it because made the trafficking dynamics in the diagram a bit unclear.