Exosome reporter mice reveal the involvement of exosomes in mediating neuron to astroglia communication in the CNS.Nat Commun 2019; 10(1):4136NC
Astroglia play active and diverse roles in modulating neuronal/synaptic functions in the CNS. How these astroglial functions are regulated, especially by neuronal signals, remains largely unknown. Exosomes, a major type of extracellular vesicles (EVs) that originate from endosomal intraluminal vesicles (ILVs), have emerged as a new intercellular communication process. By generating cell-type-specific ILVs/exosome reporter (CD63-GFPf/f) mice and immuno-EM/confocal image analysis, we found that neuronal CD63-GFP+ ILVs are primarily localized in soma and dendrites, but not in axonal terminals in vitro and in vivo. Secreted neuronal exosomes contain a subset of microRNAs (miRs) that is distinct from the miR profile of neurons. These miRs, especially the neuron-specific miR-124-3p, are potentially internalized into astrocytes. MiR-124-3p further up-regulates the predominant glutamate transporter GLT1 by suppressing GLT1-inhibiting miRs. Our findings suggest a previously undescribed neuronal exosomal miR-mediated genetic regulation of astrocyte functions, potentially opening a new frontier in understanding CNS intercellular communication.