Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics
Faculty of Medicine
University of Ljubljana

Vrazov trg 2
SI 1000, Ljubljana
Slovenia

Tel (IBK): +386-1-543-7640
Tel (lab): +386-1-543-7652
E-mail: metka.lenassi@mf.uni-lj.si

 



 

Laboratory for Extracellular Vesicle Research
PI: Metka Lenassi

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Laboratory for Extracellular Vesicles Research

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are a heterogeneous population of membrane bound particles, which are shed from cells in vitro or are released into various body fluids in vivo, like blood plasma, cerebrospinal fluid, urine, and others. According to their size and site of formation, EVs are subdivided into exosomes, microvesicles and apoptotic bodies. EVs consist of a lipid bilayer membrane that surrounds a small amount of cytosol, and they contain various typical proteins, lipids and nucleic acids, which mirror the composition of the cell of origin. EVs have an important role in physiological processes and various pathological conditions and thus have great potential for human diagnostics and therapeutic applications.

We are interested in advancing the knowledge of these novel vehicles of cell-cell and cell-pathogen communication and their usage as biomarkers, using HIV-human and fungi-human interactions as model systems. We are focusing on EVs released from cells infected by the HIV-1 virus and are trying to evaluate their contribution to non-AIDS related disorders, by studying their biogenesis, composition and effects on target cells. Additionally we are exploring the usage of these EVs in HIV diagnostics and as a therapeutic target. We are also interested in understanding the fundamentals of EV release from fungi and explore possible roles of these EVs in the context of opportunistic human infection. We also collaborate with several clinical partners on discovery of new EV-based diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers of diverse human diseases.