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. According to their size and site of formation, EVs are subdivided into exosomes, microvesicles and apoptotic bodies. Biochemically, EVs are composed of various proteins, lipids, nucleic acids and metabolites, 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 EVs in cell-pathogen communication, using HIV-human interaction as a model system. Our focus is on EVs released from cells expressing HIV-1 protein Nef (including in the context of HIV-1 infection) and their role in non-AIDS related conditions, by studying Nef-EV biogenesis, composition, targeting and functions. We are exploring the usage of Nef-EVs in HIV diagnostics and as a therapeutic target.

We are also heavily involved in EV-biomarker studies and collaborate on this with several clinical partners. Our focus is on optimizing biobanking of biological samples and methodology for EV isolation, and on evaluating EV- protein, RNA, and DNA components as disease state read-outs.

We are also dedicated to promoting EVs among wider research and medical community, through our involvement in teaching activities, workshops, EV-training programs, and local (SiN-EV) and international (ISEV) scientific organizations on EVs.