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Publication in Biomolecular Concepts by Univ.-Doz. Dr. Mario Gimona.

Calorimetry of extracellular vesicles fusion to single phospholipid membrane

Extracellular vesicles (EVs)-mediated communication relies not only on the delivery of complex molecular cargoes as lipids, proteins, genetic material, and metabolites to their target cells but also on the modification of the cell surface local properties induced by the eventual fusion of EVs’ membranes with the cells’ plasma membrane. Here we applied scanning calorimetry to study the phase transition of single phospholipid (DMPC) monolamellar vesicles, investigating the thermodynamical effects caused by the fusion of doping amounts of mesenchymal stem cells-derived EVs. Specifically, we studied EVs-induced consequences on the lipids distributed in the differently curved membrane leaflets, having different density and order. The effect of EV components was found to be not homogeneous in the two leaflets, the inner (more disordered one) being mainly affected. Fusion resulted in phospholipid membrane flattening associated with lipid ordering, while the transition cooperativity, linked to membrane domains’ coexistence during the transition process, was decreased. Our results open new horizons for the investigation of the peculiar effects of EVs of different origins on target cell membrane properties and functionality. [get the paper]