Isolation, profiling, and tracking of extracellular vesicle cargo in Caenorhabditis elegans

Inna A. Nikonorova, Juan Wang, Alexander L. Cope, Peter E. Tilton, Kaiden M. Power, Jonathon D. Walsh, Jyothi S. Akella, Amber R. Krauchunas, Premal Shah, Maureen M. Barr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) may mediate intercellular communication by carrying protein and RNA cargo. The composition, biology, and roles of EVs in physiology and pathology have been primarily studied in the context of biofluids and in cultured mammalian cells. The experimental tractability of C. elegans makes for a powerful in vivo animal system to identify and study EV cargo from its cellular source. We developed an innovative method to label, track, and profile EVs using genetically encoded, fluorescent-tagged EV cargo and conducted a large-scale isolation and proteomic profiling. Nucleic acid binding proteins (∼200) are overrepresented in our dataset. By integrating our EV proteomic dataset with single-cell transcriptomic data, we identified and validated ciliary EV cargo: CD9-like tetraspanin (TSP-6), ectonucleotide pyrophosphatase/phosphodiesterase (ENPP-1), minichromosome maintenance protein (MCM-3), and double-stranded RNA transporter SID-2. C. elegans EVs also harbor RNA, suggesting that EVs may play a role in extracellular RNA-based communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1924-1936.e6
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 9 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


  • ENPP1
  • MCM3
  • PKD2, polycystin
  • SID-2
  • cilia
  • ectosome
  • exosome
  • extracellular vesicle
  • seminal fluid


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