About this Research Topic
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are nanoparticles released virtually from all types of cells, ranging from 50-500 nm in diameter. EVs have been proven to mediate intercellular communication through the delivery of payloads including proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids, in both physiological and pathological conditions. EV biogenesis represents a snapshot of the status of the producer cells, and the biogenesis yield and composition of EVs can be regulated by different stimuli. Therefore, the EVs circulating in bloodstream or urea can be used as liquid biopsy tools for the diagnosis or prognosis of different diseases including but not limited to cancers, brain injury, and some inflammatory syndromes. In addition, upon cargo delivery, EVs released from diseased cells or tissues may lead to the pathogenesis, initiation, or progression in target cells or tissues. For example, cancer cell-derived EVs facilitate tumor progression by inhibition of tumor-suppressor genes, increases in vesicular permeability, generation of pro-metastatic microenvironment, or weakened immune surveillance. Thus, EVs under pathophysiological conditions represent potential targets for disease treatment. The EV biogenesis and uptake pathways can be targeted to dampen the generation or delivery of EV payloads. Because of these properties, the translational potential of EVs as diagnostics or treatment targets has attracted considerable attention.
The goal of this Research Topic is to draw connections between the recent advances of EV biogenesis and cargo research to the potential of EVs as diagnostics or treatment targets. There are still gaps to be filled to improve the above translational potential of EVs. To that end, multiple questions warrant further study: 1.) the understanding of the composition of EV cargos, the major target molecules in recipient cells, and the mechanisms by which the EV components accelerate disease progression, 2.) the fundamental biological mechanisms with respect to EV biogenesis, secretion, and uptake, 3.) development of cutting-edge treatment methods to specifically target different stages of the EV lifecycle, 4.) development of state-of-the-art approaches to isolate EVs from circulating systems for the subsequent diagnostic analysis, and 5.) improvement of EV-based diagnostic specificity and sensitivity.
This Research Topic welcomes submissions of Original Research articles and Reviews covering one or more of the following research areas:
1. Characterization and discrimination of EV subtypes or cargos (lipid, protein, or RNA) with multidisciplinary approaches including lipidomics, proteomics, or next generation RNA sequencing under normal or diseased conditions.
2. Developing novel and efficient EV isolation methods to achieve: 1.) high recovery rate, 2.) high quality, and 3.) low contamination.
3. Advances in improving EV-based diagnostic specificity or sensitivity.
4. Advances in the basic knowledge of EV biogenesis and secretion from producer cells, and discovery of specific inhibitors to dampen the assembly and release of varied EV subtypes.
5. Investigation into EV uptake in recipient cells for the discoveries of EV ligands and receptors on target cells that determine the EV organotropism, as well as advances in identifying uptake mechanisms by which EVs are taken up by target cells.
6. Discovery of effective EV components and the target molecules in recipient cells in the context of disease pathogenesis or progression.
7. Mechanisms underlying the EV-driven initiation or progression of diseases in the pathophysiological scenario.
Keywords: Extracellular Vesicles, Diagnostics, Treatment Target, Disease Progression
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.