Wnts are secreted glycoproteins that regulate stem cell self-renewal, differentiation, and cell-To-cell communication during embryonic development and in adult tissues. Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) have been shown to stimulate dermis repair and regeneration; however, it is unclear how BM-MSCs may modulate downstream Wnt signaling. While recent reports implicate that Wnt ligands and Wnt messenger RNAs (such as Wnt4) exist within the interior compartment of exosomes, it has been debated whether or not Wnts exist on the exterior surface of exosomes to travel in the extracellular space. To help answer this question, we utilized flow cytometry of magnetic beads coated with anti-CD63 antibodies and found, for the first time, that Wnt3a protein is detectable exteriorly on CD63+ exosomes derived from BM-MSCs over-secreting Wnt3a into serum-free conditioned media (Wnt3a CM). Our data suggest that CD63+ exosomes significantly help transport exterior Wnt3a signal to recipient cells to promote fibroblast and endothelial functions. During purification of exosomes, we unexpectedly found that use of ultracentrifugation alone significantly decreased the ability to detect exteriorly bound Wnt3a on CD63+ exosomes, however, polyethylene glycol (PEG)-mediated exosome-enrichment before exosome-purification (with ultracentrifugation into a sucrose cushion) resulted in exosomes more likely to retain exterior Wnt3a detectability and downstream Wnt/beta-catenin activity. Our findings indicate the important role that purification methods may have on stem cell-derived Wnt-exosome activity in downstream assays. The ability for BM-MSC Wnt3a CM and exosomes to stimulate dermal fibroblast proliferation and migration, and endothelial angiogenesis in vitro, was significantly decreased after CD63+-exosome depletion or knockdown of Wnt coreceptor LRP6 in recipient cells, suggesting both are required for optimal Wnt-exosome activity in our system. Thus, BM-MSC-derived CD63+ exosomes are a significant carrier of exterior Wnt3a within high Wnt environments, resulting in downstream fibroblast proliferation, migration, and angiogenesis in vitro.
- Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cell
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Biology
- Cell Biology