Extracellular vesicles (EVs), which are generated by almost all living cells, are now considered to be an important system of cell–cell communication. A large volume of data has been published on EVs in different fields of biology and medicine, from immunology to marine biology. These data are discussed at large international meetings that gather thousands of researchers.
However, there is still a need for more-focused meetings at which the importance and reliability of the data should be evaluated by a narrow circle of experts. Here, we propose to organize a small conference that will focus on one of the most important aspects of EVs, their role in infectious human diseases. The aim of the proposed conference is to improve our understanding of the mechanisms of this involvement and to evaluate EVs as potential therapeutic targets.
Key Sessions to include:
- Extracellular vesicles generated by human cells: a diverse population of vesicles formed by diverse biogenesis and having diverse composition.
- Extracellular vesicles as mediators of communications between human cells in vitro and in vivo: proved cases vs. unproved hypotheses.
- Extracellular vesicles in retroviral pathogenesis: human retroviruses as close relatives of extracellular vesicles.
- Extracellular vesicles as carriers of viral proteins and infectious viruses.
- Extracellular vesicles in bacterial pathogenesis: effects of bacterial vesicles on human tissues.
- Extracellular vesicles in complicated pregnancies: EVs as mediators of disruption of mother-to-child dialogue in infections.
- Extracellular vesicles as vehicles carrying RNA and soluble factors between cells.
- Isolation and characterization of different vesicles generated by human cells in vivo and in vitro: Is this mission possible?
Confirmed Plenary Speakers:
Genoveffa Franchini (NIH)
Stephen Gould (Johns Hopkins University)
Andrew Hill (La Trobe University)
Guillaume van Niel (INSERM)
Randy Schekman (University of California, Berkeley)
Philip Stahl (Washington University in St. Louis)
Yoel Sadovsky (Magee-Womens Research Institute)
The specific audience that will attend this conference will consist of the leading experts in extracellular vesicles, post-doctoral fellows, and possibly PhD students who plan to investigate the relevance and involvement of extracellular vesicles in their scientific projects, as well as physicians who have read about extracellular vesicle involvement in human diseases and who want to learn about this topic from the experts. The field of extracellular vesicles is relatively new, and the ideas so far developed are rather simple. Therefore, to understand the field at this stage of its development does not require prior knowledge or skills beyond general university courses in microbiology.
The field of extracellular vesicles has undergone extensive growth over the last several years; it has attracted significant funding and a diverse circle of researchers. As the result, the field benefits from excellent new data but is also held back by less-than-convincing results and unproved hypotheses. A relatively small conference focused on only one aspect of extracellular vesicles, namely their role in human infectious disease, may provide for the scientific community a consensus view of the leading experts on the validity of different data and may develop new lines of research necessary for the progress of basic knowledge of EVs and their potentials in translational medicine.