DOI: 10.1002/jev2.12352 ISSN: 2001-3078

Differential proteomics argues against a general role for CD9, CD81 or CD63 in the sorting of proteins into extracellular vesicles

Yé Fan, Cédric Pionneau, Federico Cocozza, Pierre‐Yves Boëlle, Solenne Chardonnet, Stéphanie Charrin, Clotilde Théry, Pascale Zimmermann, Eric Rubinstein
  • Cell Biology
  • Histology


The tetraspanins CD9, CD81 and CD63 are major components of extracellular vesicles (EVs). Yet, their impact on EV composition remains under‐investigated. In the MCF7 breast cancer cell line CD63 was as expected predominantly intracellular. In contrast CD9 and CD81 strongly colocalized at the plasma membrane, albeit with different ratios at different sites, which may explain a higher enrichment of CD81 in EVs. Absence of these tetraspanins had little impact on the EV protein composition as analysed by quantitative mass spectrometry. We also analysed the effect of concomitant knock‐out of CD9 and CD81 because these two tetraspanins play similar roles in several cellular processes and associate directly with two Ig domain proteins, CD9P‐1/EWI‐F/PTGFRN and EWI‐2/IGSF8. These were the sole proteins significantly decreased in the EVs of double CD9‐ and CD81‐deficient cells. In the case of EWI‐2, this is primarily a consequence of a decreased cell expression level. In conclusion, this study shows that CD9, CD81 and CD63, commonly used as EV protein markers, play a marginal role in determining the protein composition of EVs released by MCF7 cells and highlights a regulation of the expression level and/or trafficking of CD9P‐1 and EWI‐2 by CD9 and CD81.

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