Greening - Extracellular vesicles, exosomes, cancer biology and uterine biology

Group leader

David GreeningDr David Greening

Bruce Stone Fellow in Biological Chemistry, College of Science, Health and Engineering

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Research overview

Cell-cell communication is an integral physiological process that relies on the sending and receiving of signals. This form of communication may involve direct contact between adjoining cells, or require the release of secreted molecules to facilitate these interactions. The focus of our research is to enlist an integrated system biology approach directed towards understanding the role of secreted molecules (secretome/extracellular vesicles).

Recent studies have suggested that cells communicate by circular membrane nanoparticles named extracellular vesicles (EVs). EVs comprise shed microvesicles (sMVs), apoptotic bodies and exosomes which differ based on their mechanism of biogenesis and size; of these, exosomes have been most widely studied. Exosomes are preformed, membrane-covered vesicles (30–150 nm) of endocytic origin secreted by most cell types in vitro, including extravillous and villous trophoblast cells, and primary trophoblast from term placenta. They have been identified in vivo in all body fluids including amniotic fluid, urine, and blood. Exosome functions include intrinsic and extrinsic signaling, immunological modulation, and horizontal transfer of proteins, lipids and genetic material (miRNA/mRNA) to recipient cells. The focus of our research is to utilize an integrated proteomic/genomic strategy directed towards understanding the role of the extracellular environment (specifically membrane vesicles; exosomes) in cancer progression and uterine biology.

Research areas