Labeling Extracellular Vesicles for Nanoscale Flow Cytometry.
ABSTRACT: Extracellular vesicles (EVs), including exosomes and microvesicles, are 30-800?nm vesicles that are released by most cell types, as biological packages for intercellular communication. Their importance in cancer and inflammation makes EVs and their cargo promising biomarkers of disease and cell-free therapeutic agents. Emerging high-resolution cytometric methods have created a pressing need for efficient fluorescent labeling procedures to visualize and detect EVs. Suitable labels must be bright enough for one EV to be detected without the generation of label-associated artifacts. To identify a strategy that robustly labels individual EVs, we used nanoFACS, a high-resolution flow cytometric method that utilizes light scattering and fluorescence parameters along with sample enumeration, to evaluate various labels. Specifically, we compared lipid-, protein-, and RNA-based staining methods and developed a robust EV staining strategy, with the amine-reactive fluorescent label, 5-(and-6)-Carboxyfluorescein Diacetate Succinimidyl Ester, and size exclusion chromatography to remove unconjugated label. By combining nanoFACS measurements of light scattering and fluorescence, we evaluated the sensitivity and specificity of EV labeling assays in a manner that has not been described for other EV detection methods. Efficient characterization of EVs by nanoFACS paves the way towards further study of EVs and their roles in health and disease.
Project description:Plasma contains cell-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs), which participate in physiopathological processes and have potential applications as disease biomarker. However, the enumeration of EVs faces major problems, due to their sub-micrometer size and to intrinsic limitations in methods of characterization, mainly flow cytometry (FCM).Our objective is to enumerate EVs in plasma, by taking as the prototype the population of phosphatidylserine (PS)-exposing EVs, which constitute one of the major EV populations and are responsible for thrombotic disorders.The concentration of PS-exposing EVs in platelet-free plasma (PFP) of healthy subjects was measured by FCM using either light scattering or fluorescence as the trigger and fluorescent Annexin-5 (Anx5) as the specific label. In addition, PS-exposing EVs were enumerated by electron microscopy (EM) after labeling with Anx5 gold nanoparticles and sedimentation on EM grids.We show that about 50× more Anx5-positive EVs are detected by FCM when detection is triggered on fluorescence as compared with light scattering. By fluorescence triggering, concentrations of 22 000-30 000 Anx5-positive EVs per ?L PFP were determined, using two different flow cytometers. The limit of detection of the fluorescence triggering method was estimated at about 1000-2500 Anx5 molecules. Results from EM suggest that EVs down to 100-150 nm diameter are detected by fluorescence triggering.This study presents a simple method for enumerating EVs. We believe that this method is applicable in a general context and will improve our understanding of the roles of EVs in pathophysiological situations, which will open avenues for the development of EV-based diagnosis assays.
Project description:Phenotyping extracellular vesicles (EVs), where surface receptor expression is often as low as one molecule per EV, remains problematic due to the inability of commercial flow cytometers to provide single-fluorescent molecule sensitivity. While EVs are widely considered to be of great potential as diagnostic, prognostic and theranostic biomarkers, their use is currently hindered by the lack of tools available to accurately and reproducibly enumerate and phenotype them. Herein, we propose a new class of labels that leverage the biophysical properties of materials with unique complex refractive indices and demonstrate that this class of labels has the possibility of allowing single-epitope detection using conventional flow cytometry.
Project description:Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are cellular derived particles found throughout the body in nearly all tissues and bodily fluids. EVs contain biological molecules including small RNAs and protein. EVs are proposed to be transferred between cells, notably, cells of the immune system. Tools that allow for in vivo EV labeling while retaining the ability to resolve cellular sources and timing of release are required for a full understanding of EV functions. Fluorescent EV fusion proteins are useful for the study of EV biogenesis, release, and identification of EV cellular recipients. Among the most plentiful and frequently identified EV proteins is CD9, a tetraspanin protein. A transgenic mouse containing a CRE-recombinase inducible CAG promoter driven CD9 protein fused to Turbo-GFP derived from the copepod Pontellina plumata was generated as an EV reporter. The transgenic inducible GFP EV reporter (TIGER) mouse was electroporated with CAG-CRE plasmids or crossed with tamoxifen inducible CAG-CRE-ERT2 or nestin-CRE-ERT2 mice. CD9-GFP labeled cells included glutamine synthetase and glial fibrillary acidic protein positive astrocytes. Cortical astrocytes released ~136?nm EVs that contained CD9. Intraventricular injected EVs were taken up by CD11b/IBA1 positive microglia surrounding the lateral ventricles. Neonatal electroporation and shRNA mediated knockdown of Rab27a in dorsal subventricular zone NSCs and astrocytes increased the number of CD11b/IBA1 positive rounded microglia. Neonatal astrocyte EVs had a unique small RNA signature comprised of morphogenic miRNAs that induce microglia cytokine release. The results from this study demonstrate that inducible CD9-GFP mice will provide the EV community with a tool that allows for EV labeling in a cell-type specific manner while simultaneously allowing in vivo experimentation and provides evidence that EVs are required immunomodulators of the developing nervous system.
Project description:Bacteria generate membrane vesicles, which are structures known as extracellular vesicles (EVs), reported to be involved in different pathogenic mechanisms, as it has been demonstrated that EVs participate in biofilm formation, cell-to-cell communication, bacteria-host interactions, and nutrients supply. EVs deliver nucleic acids, proteins, and polysaccharides. It has been reported that Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and Lactobacillus reuteri (L. reuteri), of both planktonic and biofilm phenotypes, produce EVs carrying extracellular DNA (eDNA). Here, we used polychromatic flow cytometry (PFC) to identify, enumerate, and characterize EVs as well as the eDNA-delivering EV compartment in the biofilm and planktonic phenotypes of H.pylori ATCC 43629 and L. reuteri DSM 17938. Biofilm formation was demonstrated and analyzed by fluorescence microscopy, using a classical live/dead staining protocol. The enumeration of EVs and the detection of eDNA-associated EVs were performed by PFC, analyzing both whole samples (cells plus vesicles) and EVs isolated by ultracentrifugation confirm EVs isolated by ultracentrifugation. PFC analysis was performed relying on a known-size beaded system and a mix of three different fluorescent tracers. In detail, the whole EV compartment was stained by a lipophilic cationic dye (LCD), which was combined to PKH26 and PicoGreen that selectively stain lipids and DNA, respectively. Fluorescence microscopy results displayed that both H. pylori and L. reuteri produced well-structured biofilms. PFC data highlighted that, in both detected bacterial species, biofilms produced higher EVs counts when paralleled to the related planktonic phenotypes. Furthermore, the staining with PicoGreen showed that most of the generated vesicles were associated with eDNA. These data suggest that the use of PFC, set according to the parameters here described, allows for the study of the production of eDNA-associated EVs in different microbial species in the same or several phases of growth, thus opening new perspectives in the study of microbial derived EVs in clinical samples.
Project description:In vivo biodistribution and fate of extracellular vesicles (EVs) are still largely unknown and require reliable in vivo tracking techniques. In this study, in vivo bioluminescence imaging (BLI) using Renilla luciferase (Rluc) was developed and applied to monitoring of EVs derived from thyroid cancer (CAL-62 cells) and breast cancer (MDA-MB-231) in nude mice after intravenous administration and was compared with a dye-based labeling method for EV derived from CAL-62 cells. The EVs were successfully labeled with Rluc and visualized by BLI in mice. In vivo distribution of the EVs, as measured by BLI, was consistent with the results of ex vivo organ analysis. EV-CAL-62/Rluc showed strong signals at lung followed by liver, spleen & kidney (P < 0.05). EV-MDA-MB-231/Rluc showed strong signals at liver followed by lung, spleen & kidney (P < 0.05). EV-CAL-62/Rluc and EV-MDA-MB-231/Rluc stayed in animal till day 9 and 3, respectively; showed a differential distribution. Spontaneous EV-CAL-62/Rluc shown distributed mostly to lung followed by liver, spleen & kidney. The new BLI system used to show spontaneous distribution of EV-CAL-62/Rluc in subcutaneous CAL-62/Rluc bearing mice. Dye (DiR)-labeled EV-CAL-62/Rluc showed a different distribution in vivo & ex vivo compared to EV-CAL-62/Rluc. Fluorescent signals were predominately detected in the liver (P < 0.05) and spleen (P < 0.05) regions. The bioluminescent EVs developed in this study may be used for monitoring of EVs in vivo. This novel reporter-imaging approach to visualization of EVs in real time is expected to pave the way for monitoring of EVs in EV-based treatments.
Project description:The skin is a multilayered and primary defensive organ. Intimate intercellular communication in the skin is necessary to ensure effective surveillance. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are being explored for their involvement in intercellular skin communication. The aim of this study was to evaluate how human dermal fibroblasts (HDFs) accelerate EV production during senescence and the effects of senescence-associated EVs on epidermal homeostasis. Replicative senescent HDFs were assessed with senescence-associated ?-galactosidase staining and the expression of senescence-related markers. Isolated EVs were characterized by dynamic light scattering and EV marker expression. EVs secreted from untreated young or senescent HDFs, or from those treated with a nSMase inhibitor, antioxidant, and lysosomal activity regulators, were determined by sandwich ELISA for CD81. Human epidermal keratinocytes were treated with young- and senescent HDF-derived EVs. Compared to young HDFs, senescent HDFs produced relatively high levels of EVs due to the increased nSMase activity, oxidative stress, and altered lysosomal activity. The nSMase inhibitor, antioxidant, and agents that recovered lysosomal activity reduced EV secretion in senescent HDFs. Relative to young HDF-derived EVs, senescent HDF-derived EVs were less supportive in keratinocyte differentiation and barrier function but increased proinflammatory cytokine IL-6 levels. Our study suggests that dermis-derived EVs may regulate epidermal homeostasis by reflecting cellular status, which provides insight as to how the dermis communicates with the epidermis and influences skin senescence.
Project description:Extracellular vesicles (EVs) have raised high expectations as a novel class of diagnostics and therapeutics. However, variabilities in EV isolation methods and the unresolved structural complexity of these biological-nanoparticles (sub-100 nm) necessitate rigorous biophysical characterization of single EVs. Here, using atomic force microscopy (AFM) in conjunction with direct stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (dSTORM), micro-fluidic resistive pore sizing (MRPS), and multi-angle light scattering (MALS) techniques, we compared the size, structure and unique surface properties of breast cancer cell-derived small EVs (sEV) obtained using four different isolation methods. AFM and dSTORM particle size distributions showed coherent unimodal and bimodal particle size populations isolated via centrifugation and immune-affinity methods respectively. More importantly, AFM imaging revealed striking differences in sEV nanoscale morphology, surface nano-roughness, and relative abundance of non-vesicles among different isolation methods. Precipitation-based isolation method exhibited the highest particle counts, yet nanoscale imaging revealed the additional presence of aggregates and polymeric residues. Together, our findings demonstrate the significance of orthogonal label-free surface characteristics of single sEVs, not discernable via conventional particle sizing and counts alone. Quantifying key nanoscale structural characteristics of sEVs, collectively termed 'EV-nano-metrics' enhances the understanding of the complexity and heterogeneity of sEV isolates, with broad implications for EV-analyte based research and clinical use.
Project description:Extracellular vesicles (EV) convey biological information by transmitting macromolecules between cells and tissues and are of great promise as pharmaceutical nanocarriers, and as therapeutic per se. Strategies for customizing the EV surface and cargo are being developed to enable their tracking, visualization, loading with pharmaceutical agents and decoration of the surface with tissue targeting ligands. While much progress has been made in the engineering of EVs, an exhaustive comparative analysis of the most commonly exploited EV-associated proteins, as well as a quantification at the molecular level are lacking. Here, we selected 12 EV-related proteins based on MS-proteomics data for comparative quantification of their EV engineering potential. All proteins were expressed with fluorescent protein (FP) tags in EV-producing cells; both parent cells as well as the recovered vesicles were characterized biochemically and biophysically. Using Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy (FCS) we quantified the number of FP-tagged molecules per vesicle. We observed different loading efficiencies and specificities for the different proteins into EVs. For the candidates showing the highest loading efficiency in terms of engineering, the molecular levels in the vesicles did not exceed ca 40-60 fluorescent proteins per vesicle upon transient overexpression in the cells. Some of the GFP-tagged EV reporters showed quenched fluorescence and were either non-vesicular, despite co-purification with EVs, or comprised a significant fraction of truncated GFP. The co-expression of each target protein with CD63 was further quantified by widefield and confocal imaging of single vesicles after double transfection of parent cells. In summary, we provide a quantitative comparison for the most commonly used sorting proteins for bioengineering of EVs and introduce a set of biophysical techniques for straightforward quantitative and qualitative characterization of fluorescent EVs to link single vesicle analysis with single molecule quantification.
Project description:Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are membranous nanoparticles released by cells as vital mediators of intercellular communication. As such, EVs have become an attractive target for pathogens and cancer cells, which can take control over their cargo composition, as well as their trafficking, shaping the pathogenesis. Despite almost four decades of research on EVs, the number of specific and efficient EV labeling methods is limited, and there is still no universal method for the visualization of their transport in living cells. Lipophilic dyes that non-specifically intercalate into the EVs membranes may diffuse to other membranes, leading to the misinterpretation of the results. Here, we propose a palmitoylated fluorescent mNeonGreen (palmNG) protein as an alternative to chemical dyes for EVs visualization. The <i>Branchiostoma lanceolatum</i>-derived mNeonGreen is a brighter, more stable, and less sensitive to laser-induced bleaching alternative to green fluorescent protein (GFP), which makes it a more potent tag in a variety of fluorescence-based techniques. A palmNG-expressing stable human melanoma cell line was generated using retrovirus gene transfer and cell sorting. This protein partially localizes to cellular membranes, and can be detected inside size-exclusion (SEC)-purified EVs. With the use of flow cytometry and fluorescent confocal microscopy, we performed qualitative and quantitative analyses of palmNG-EVs uptake in recipient human hepatoma cells, in comparison to PKH67-labeled vesicles. Our findings confirm that membrane-embedded mNeonGreen can be successfully applied as a tool in EVs transfer and uptake studies.
Project description:Production of extracellular vesicles (EVs) involved in intercellular communication is a common capacity of most cell types. Upon encountering opsonized microorganisms, neutrophilic granulocytes release EVs that compromise bacterial growth. We carried out a systematic investigation of the involvement of potential opsonin receptors in EV-generation from human and murine neutrophils. Applying flow cytometric, proteomic and functional analysis as well as using genetically modified mice, we demonstrate that formation of antibacterial EVs depends upon stimulation of the multifunctional Mac-1 integrin complex, also called as complement receptor 3 (CR3), whereas activation of immunoglobulin binding Fc receptors or pattern recognition receptors alone or in combination is ineffective. Mac-1/CR3 stimulation and downstream tyrosine kinase signalling affect both the numbers, the cargo content and the antibacterial capacity of the produced vesicles. In contrast, Mac-1/CR3 signalling is not required for spontaneous EV formation, clearly indicating the existence of separate molecular pathways in EV biogenesis. We propose that EVs are "tailor-made" with different composition and functional properties depending on the environmental circumstances.