Introduction: The regenerative capacity of mesenchymal stromal cells or medicinal signaling cells (MSCs) is largely mediated by their secreted small extracellular vesicles (sEVs), and the therapeutic efficacy of sEVs can be enhanced by licensing approaches (e.g., cytokines, hypoxia, chemicals, and genetic modification). Noncoding RNAs within MSC-derived sEVs (MSC-sEVs) have been demonstrated to be responsible for tissue regeneration. However, unlike miRNA fingerprints, which have been explored, the landscape of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) in MSC-sEVs remains to be described. Objectives: To characterize lncRNA signatures in sEVs of human adipose-derived MSCs with or without inflammatory cytokine licensing and depict MSC-sEV-specific and MSC-enriched lncRNA repertoires. Methods: sEVs were isolated from MSCs with or without TNF-α and IFN-γ (20 ng/mL) stimulation. High-throughput lncRNA sequencing and an in silico approach were employed to analyze the profile of lncRNAs in sEVs and predict lncRNA-protein interactomes. Results: sEVs derived from human MSCs and fibroblasts carried a unique landscape of lncRNAs distinct from the lncRNAs inside these cells. Compared with fibroblast-derived sEVs (F-sEVs), 194 MSC-sEV-specific and 8 upregulated lncRNAs in MSC-sEVs were considered “medicinal signaling lncRNAs”; inflammatory cytokines upregulated 27 lncRNAs in MSC-sEVs, which were considered “licensing-responsive lncRNAs”. Based on lncRNA-protein interactome prediction and enrichment analysis, we found that the proteins interacting with medicinal signaling lncRNAs or licensing-responsive lncRNAs have a tight interaction network involved in chromatin remodeling, SWI/SNF superfamily type complexes, and histone binding. Conclusion: In summary, our study depicts the landscape of lncRNAs in MSC-sEVs and predicts their potential functions via the lncRNA-protein interactome. Elucidation of the lncRNA landscape of MSC-sEVs will facilitate defining the therapeutic potency of MSC-sEVs and the development of sEV-based therapeutics.
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