Journal of Molecular Medicine

, Volume 97, Issue 6, pp 829–844 | Cite as

ALIX increases protein content and protective function of iPSC-derived exosomes

  • Ruiting Sun
  • Yingying Liu
  • Meng Lu
  • Qianqian Ding
  • Pingping Wang
  • Heng Zhang
  • Xiaoyu Tian
  • Peng Lu
  • Dan Meng
  • Ning Sun
  • Meng XiangEmail author
  • Sifeng ChenEmail author
Original Article


Nature of exosome-secreting cells determines exosome content and function. ALIX, involved in exosome biogenesis, promotes cell degeneration. Here, ALIX was knocked out (iPSC-ALIX−/−) and overexpressed (iPSC-ALIX3+) in induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) using CRISPR-Cas9 and lentiviral transduction, respectively, and the secreted exosomes were analyzed. Exosomes from iPSC-ALIX−/− (exosome-KO), iPSC-ALIX3+ (exosome-over), and their corresponding controls contained 176, 529, 431, and 351 proteins, respectively. Exosome-over showed increased protein levels, while exosome-KO contained fewer protein types without differing in total protein content. ALIX knockout did not affect exosome uptake by endothelial cells. Exosome-over more effectively promoted cell viability than exosome-GFP, in a dose-dependent manner. All exosomes were protective for endothelial cells injured by hydrogen peroxide or cisplatin, as demonstrated by promotion of cell viability, horizontal migration, angiogenic sprouting from aortic rings, and formation of capillary-like structures, inhibition of apoptosis, and maintenance of permeability of endothelial monolayer, although exosome-over and exosome-KO had stronger and weaker effects, respectively. SNX2 was important for ALIX-mediated exosomal function. Beneficial functions of the exosomes were independent of experimental models, targeted cell types, causes of injury, exosome-producing iPSC passages, clones of ALIX knockout, and transfection batches of ALIX overexpression. Thus, we present a novel strategy to manipulate iPSCs for production of exosomes with beneficial ALIX-regulated protein composition for varied exosome functions.

Key messages

  • ALIX knockout and overexpression regulate protein profile in iPSC-derived exosome.

  • ALIX knockout decreases therapeutic function of iPSC-derived exosomes.

  • ALIX overexpression increases therapeutic function of iPSC-derived exosomes.

  • Manipulating iPSCs can produce exosomes with more beneficial protein content.


Induced pluripotent stem cells Exosome Apoptosis-linked gene 2–interacting protein X Endothelial cells Endosomal proteomics 



We thank Malvern Instruments for technical support with the nano-particle tracking studies.

Author contributions

R.S., Y.L., M. L, P.L., M.X., X.T., and Q.D.: data collection. P.W., H.Z., D.M., and N.S.: data analysis. S.C.: conception and design, data analysis and interpretation, financial support, administrative support, manuscript writing, final approval of manuscript.

Funding information

This study was supported by Great Research Plan Program (91539120 to S. Chen), International Cooperation and Exchanges (81220108002 to S. Chen), and General Program (81470260 to M. Xiang) of the National Natural Science Foundation of China, and the National Key R&D Program of China (2016YFC1305101 to S. Chen).

Compliance with ethical standards

The animal protocol for mouse aorta collection was approved by the Animal Care Committee of the Fudan University Shanghai Medical College in accordance with the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (National Research Council of USA). Three fresh umbilical cord veins were obtained from women with normal pregnancies and delivery after informed consent was obtained to isolate primary HUVECs with the approval of the Ethics Board of Fudan University Shanghai College of Medicine in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

109_2019_1767_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (154 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 154 kb)
109_2019_1767_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (38.8 mb)
ESM 2 (PDF 39702 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, School of Basic Medical SciencesFudan UniversityShanghaiChina

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