A CRISPR-Cas9-based reporter system for single-cell detection of extracellular vesicle-mediated functional transfer of RNA Academic Article uri icon


  • Extracellular vesicles (EVs) form an endogenous transport system for intercellular transfer of biological cargo, including RNA, that plays a pivotal role in physiological and pathological processes. Unfortunately, whereas biological effects of EV-mediated RNA transfer are abundantly studied, regulatory pathways and mechanisms remain poorly defined due to a lack of suitable readout systems. Here, we describe a highly-sensitive CRISPR-Cas9-based reporter system that allows direct functional study of EV-mediated transfer of small non-coding RNA molecules at single-cell resolution. Using this CRISPR operated stoplight system for functional intercellular RNA exchange (CROSS-FIRE) we uncover various genes involved in EV subtype biogenesis that play a regulatory role in RNA transfer. Moreover we identify multiple genes involved in endocytosis and intracellular membrane trafficking that strongly regulate EV-mediated functional RNA delivery. Altogether, this approach allows the elucidation of regulatory mechanisms in EV-mediated RNA transfer at the level of EV biogenesis, endocytosis, intracellular trafficking, and RNA delivery.


  • de Jong, OG
  • Murphy, DE
  • Mäger, I
  • Willms, Eduard
  • Garcia-Guerra, A
  • Gitz-Francois, JJ
  • Lefferts, J
  • Gupta, D
  • Steenbeek, SC
  • van Rheenen, J
  • El Andaloussi, S
  • Schiffelers, RM
  • Wood, MJA
  • Vader, P

publication date

  • 2020