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Impact of isolation methods on the biophysical heterogeneity of single extracellular vesicles.


ABSTRACT: 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.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7414114 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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