Virologica Sinica

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 59–65 | Cite as

Exosomes Released from Rabies Virus-Infected Cells May be Involved in the Infection Process

  • Jingyu Wang
  • Fan Wu
  • Chuntian Liu
  • Wenwen Dai
  • Yawei Teng
  • Weiheng Su
  • Wei Kong
  • Feng Gao
  • Linjun Cai
  • Ali HouEmail author
  • Chunlai JiangEmail author
Research Article


Exosomes are cell-derived vesicles that are secreted by many eukaryotic cells. It has recently attracted attention as vehicles of intercellular communication. Virus-infected cells release exosomes, which contain viral proteins, RNA, and pathogenic molecules. However, the role of exosomes in virus infection process remains unclear and needs to be further investigated. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the effects of exosomes on rabies virus infection. OptiPrep™ density gradient centrifugation was used to isolate exosomes from rabies virus-infected cell culture supernatants. A rabies virus G protein enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and acetylcholinesterase activity assays were performed to verify the centrifugation fractions. Exosomes were then characterized using transmission electron microscopy and Western blotting. Our results showed that rabies virus infection increased the release of exosomes. Treatment with GW4869 and si-Rab27a, two exosomal secretion inhibitors, inhibited exosome release. Furthermore, the inhibitors reduced the levels of extracellular and intracellular viral RNA. These data indicated that exosomes may participate in the viral infection process. Moreover, our results establish a basis for future research into the roles of exosomes in rabies virus infection and as potential targets for developing new antiviral strategies.


Exosomes Rabies virus Isolation Virus infection 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 31770184) and Construction Project of Provincial-School of Jilin Province (No. 440050316A28).

Author Contributions

JW, AH, and CJ contributed to the conception of the study. JW, AH, and FW contributed to designed and performed the experiments. CL, WD, and YT contributed assisted performed the experiments. JW, WS, FG, WK, LC, AH, and CJ contributed analysis with constructive discussions. CJ contributed to resources. JW, AH, and CJ contributed significantly to analysis results and manuscript preparation. JW, LC, AH, and CJ contributed review and editing manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Animal and Human Rights Statement

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Wuhan Institute of Virology, CAS 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Engineering Laboratory for AIDS Vaccine, School of Life ScienceJilin UniversityChangchunChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory for Molecular Enzymology and Engineering of the Ministry of Education, School of Life ScienceJilin UniversityChangchunChina

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