All living organisms secrete molecules for intercellular communication. Recent research has revealed that extracellular vesicles (EVs) play an important role in inter-organismal cell-to-cell communication by transporting diverse messenger molecules, including RNA, DNA, lipids and proteins. These discoveries have raised fundamental questions regarding EV biology. How are EVs biosynthesized and loaded with messenger/cargo molecules? How are EVs secreted into the extracellular matrix? What are the EV uptake mechanisms of recipient cells? As EVs are produced by all kind of organisms, from unicellular bacteria and protists, filamentous fungi and oomycetes, to complex multicellular life forms such as plants and animals, basic research in diverse model systems is urgently needed to shed light on the multifaceted biology of EVs and their role in inter-organismal communications. To help catalyse progress in this emerging field, a mini-symposium was held in Munich, Germany in August 2018. This report highlights recent progress and major questions being pursued across a very diverse group of model systems, all united by the question of how EVs contribute to inter-organismal communication.
- extracellular vesicles (EVs)
- small RNAs