The Convergence of Extracellular Vesicle and GPCR Biology

Maarten P. Bebelman, Caitrin Crudden, D. Michiel Pegtel, Martine J. Smit*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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Transmembrane receptors, of which G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) constitute the largest group, typically act as cellular antennae that reside at the plasma membrane (PM) to collect and interpret information from the extracellular environment. The discovery of cell-released extracellular vesicles (EVs) has added a new dimension to intercellular communication. These unique nanocarriers reflect cellular topology and can systemically transport functionally competent transmembrane receptors, ligands, and a cargo of signal proteins. Recent developments hint at roles for GPCRs in the EV life cycle and, conversely, at roles for EVs in GPCR signal transduction. We highlight key points of convergence, discuss their relevance to current GPCR and EV paradigms, and speculate on how this intersection could lend itself to future therapeutic avenues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)627-640
Number of pages14
JournalTrends in Pharmacological Sciences
Issue number9
Early online date22 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • endosome
  • exosome
  • extracellular vesicle
  • GPCR
  • signal transduction


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