The Web of Life (7-2-4) Communal Encyclopedia

 Communal Encyclopedia

Biological production of extracellular vesicles is widespread, with vesicles produced by species across all branches of the tree of life. ~ English marine microbiologist David Scanlan

Cells in all domains of life produce membraned vesicles (MVs) that contain lipids, proteins, and genic information. These vesicles are constantly secreted into the surrounding environment. MV production and secretion is dynamic and manipulatable, allowing cells to send informational messages and receive feedback.

Exosomes are saucer shaped MVs produced by most eukaryotic cells. All kinds of cells, including cancer cells, communicate over long distances using exosomes.

By their ubiquity, MVs provide a communal encyclopedia. Cells selectively incorporate encountered vesicles to ascertain a wealth of information about the neighborhood in which they live and its history.

This knowledge is especially helpful to microbes, which often traverse new territory. The genetic data in vesicles is especially useful as it affords transfer of nifty adaptations which may be incorporated and employed accordingly.