MDPI, Plants, 12(9), p. 1777, 2020
Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) play pivotal roles in cell-to-cell and inter-kingdom communication. Despite their relevant biological implications, the existence and role of plant EVs released into the environment has been unexplored. Herein, we purified round-shaped small vesicles (EVs) by differential ultracentrifugation of a sampling solution containing root exudates of hydroponically grown tomato plants. Biophysical analyses, by means of dynamic light scattering, microfluidic resistive pulse sensing and scanning electron microscopy, showed that the size of root-released EVs range in the nanometric scale (50–100 nm). Shot-gun proteomics of tomato EVs identified 179 unique proteins, several of which are known to be involved in plant-microbe interactions. In addition, the application of root-released EVs induced a significant inhibition of spore germination and of germination tube development of the plant pathogens Fusarium oxysporum, Botrytis cinerea and Alternaria alternata. Interestingly, these EVs contain several proteins involved in plant defense, suggesting that they could be new components of the plant innate immune system.