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.
Project description:Seminal plasma (SP) contains a unique concentration of miRNA, mostly contained in small extracellular vesicles (sEVs) such as exosomes, some of which could be clinically useful for diagnosis and/or prognosis of urogenital diseases such as prostate cancer (PCa). We optimized several exosome-EV isolation technologies for their use in semen, evaluating EV purifying effectiveness and impact on the downstream analysis of miRNAs against results from the standard ultracentrifugation (UC) method to implement the use of SP sEV_miRNAs as noninvasive biomarkers for PCa. Our results evidenced that commercial kits designed to isolate exosomes/EVs from blood or urine are mostly applicable to SP, but showed quantitative and qualitative variability between them. ExoGAG 3500× g and the miRCURY Cell/Urine/CSF 1500× g methods resulted as equivalent alternative procedures to UC for isolating exosomes/sEVs from semen for nanoparticle characteristics and quality of RNA contained in vesicles. Additionally, the expression profile of the altered semen sEV-miRNAs in PCa varies depending on the EV isolation method applied. This is possibly due to different extraction techniques yielding different proportions of sEV subtypes. This is evidence that the exosome-EV isolation method has a significant impact on the analysis of the miRNAs contained within, with important consequences for their use as clinical biomarkers. Therefore, miRNA analysis results for EVs cannot be directly extrapolated between different EV isolation methods until clear markers for delineation between microvesicles and exosomes are established. However, EV extraction methodology affects combined models (semen exosome miRNA signatures plus blood Prostate specific antigen (PSA) concentration for PCa diagnosis) less; specifically our previously described (miR-142-3p + miR-142-5p + miR-223-3p + PSA) model functions as molecular marker from EVs from any of the three isolation methods, potentially improving the efficiency of PSA PCa diagnosis.
Project description:Extracellular vesicles (EVs) mediate targeted cellular interactions in normal and pathophysiological conditions and are increasingly recognised as potential biomarkers, therapeutic agents and drug delivery vehicles. Based on their size and biogenesis, EVs are classified as exosomes, microvesicles and apoptotic bodies. Due to overlapping size ranges and the lack of specific markers, these classes cannot yet be distinguished experimentally. Currently, it is a major challenge in the field to define robust and sensitive technological platforms being suitable to resolve EV heterogeneity, especially for small EVs (sEVs) with diameters below 200 nm, i.e. smaller microvesicles and exosomes. Most conventional flow cytometers are not suitable for the detection of particles being smaller than 300 nm, and the poor availability of defined reference materials hampers the validation of sEV analysis protocols. Following initial reports that imaging flow cytometry (IFCM) can be used for the characterisation of larger EVs, we aimed to investigate its usability for the characterisation of sEVs. This study set out to identify optimal sample preparation and instrument settings that would demonstrate the utility of this technology for the detection of single sEVs. By using CD63eGFP-labelled sEVs as a biological reference material, we were able to define and optimise IFCM acquisition and analysis parameters on an Amnis ImageStreamX MkII instrument for the detection of single sEVs. In addition, using antibody-labelling approaches, we show that IFCM facilitates robust detection of different EV and sEV subpopulations in isolated EVs, as well as unprocessed EV-containing samples. Our results indicate that fluorescently labelled sEVs as biological reference material are highly useful for the optimisation of fluorescence-based methods for sEV analysis. Finally, we propose that IFCM will help to significantly increase our ability to assess EV heterogeneity in a rigorous and reproducible manner, and facilitate the identification of specific subsets of sEVs as useful biomarkers in various diseases.
Project description:Although extracellular vesicle (EV) surface electrostatic properties (measured as zeta potential, ?-potential) have been reported by many investigators, the biophysical implications of charge and EV origin remains uncertain. Here, we compared the ?-potential of human blood EVs (BEVs) and semen EVs (SEVs) from 26 donors that were HIV-infected (HIV+, n = 13) or HIV uninfected (HIV-, n = 13). We found that, compared to BEVs that bear neutral surface charge, SEVs were significantly more negatively charged, even when BEVs and SEVs were from the same individual. Comparison of BEVs and SEVs from HIV- and HIV+ groups revealed subtle HIV-induced alteration in the ?-potential of EVs, with the effect being more significant in SEVs (??-potential = -8.82 mV, p-value = 0.0062) than BEVs (??-potential = -1.4 mV, p-value = 0.0462). These observations were validated by differences in the isoelectric point (IEP) of EVs, which was in the order of HIV + SEV ? HIV-SEV ? HIV + BEV ? HIV-BEV. Functionally, the rate and efficiency of SEV internalization by the human cervical epithelial cell line, primary peripheral blood lymphocytes, and primary blood-derived monocytes were significantly higher than those of BEVs. Mechanistically, removal of sialic acids from the surface of EVs using neuraminidase treatment significantly decreased SEV's surface charge, concomitant with a substantial reduction in SEV's internalization. The neuraminidase effect was independent of HIV infection and insignificant for BEVs. Finally, these results were corroborated by enrichment of glycoproteins in SEVs versus BEVs. Taken together, these findings uncover fundamental tissue-specific differences in surface electrostatic properties of EVs and highlight the critical role of surface charge in EV/target cell interactions.
Project description:Interest in small extracellular vesicles (sEVs) as functional carriers of proteins and nucleic acids is growing continuously. There are large numbers of sEVs in the blood, but lack of standardised methods for sEV isolation greatly limits our ability to study them. In this report, we use rat plasma to systematically compare two commonly used techniques for isolation of sEVs: ultracentrifugation (UC-sEVs) and size-exclusion chromatography (SEC-sEVs). SEC-sEVs had higher particle number, protein content, particle/protein ratios and sEV marker signal than UC-sEVs. However, SEC-sEVs also contained greater amounts of APOB+ lipoproteins and large quantities of non-sEV protein. sEV marker signal correlated very well with both particle number and protein content in UC-sEVs but not in all of the SEC-sEV fractions. Functionally, both UC-sEVs and SEC-sEVs isolates contained a variety of proangiogenic factors (with endothelin-1 being the most abundant) and stimulated migration of endothelial cells. However, there was no evident correlation between the promigratory potential and the quantity of sEVs added, indicating that non-vesicular co-isolates may contribute to the promigratory effects. Overall, our findings suggest that UC provides plasma sEVs of lower yields, but markedly higher purity compared to SEC. Furthermore, we show that the functional activity of sEVs can depend on the isolation method used and does not solely reflect the sEV quantity. These findings are of importance when working with sEVs isolated from plasma- or serum-containing conditioned medium.
Project description:Serum is an abundant and accessible source of circulating extracellular vesicles (EVs). Serum-EV (sEV) pro-angiogenic capability and mechanisms are herein analyzed using an in vitro assay which predicts sEV angiogenic potential in vivo. Effective sEVs (e-sEVs) also improved vascular remodeling and prevented muscle damage in a mouse model of acute hind limb ischemia. e-sEV angiogenic proteomic and transcriptomic analyses show a positive correlation with matrix-metalloproteinase activation and extracellular matrix organization, cytokine and chemokine signaling pathways, Insulin-like Growth Factor and platelet pathways, and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor signaling. A discrete gene signature, which highlights differences in e-sEV and ineffective-EV biological activity, was identified using gene ontology (GO) functional analysis. An enrichment of genes associated with the Transforming Growth Factor beta 1 (TGF?1) signaling cascade is associated with e-sEV administration but not with ineffective-EVs. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis on the inhibitor of DNA binding I (ID1) promoter region, and the knock-down of small mother against decapentaplegic (SMAD)1-5 proteins confirmed GO functional analyses. This study demonstrates sEV pro-angiogenic activity, validates a simple, sEV pro-angiogenic assay which predicts their biological activity in vivo, and identifies the TGF?1 cascade as a relevant mediator. We propose serum as a readily available source of EVs for therapeutic purposes.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are lipid-bound particles that are naturally released from cells and mediate cell-cell communication. Integrin adhesion receptors are enriched in small EVs (SEVs) and SEV-carried integrins have been shown to promote cancer cell migration and to mediate organ-specific metastasis; however, how integrins mediate these effects is not entirely clear and could represent a combination of EV binding to extracellular matrix and cells. METHODS:To probe integrin role in EVs binding and uptake, we employed a disintegrin inhibitor (DisBa-01) of integrin binding with specificity for ?v?3 integrin. EVs were purified from MDA-MB-231 cells conditioned media by serial centrifugation method. Isolated EVs were characterized by different techniques and further employed in adhesion, uptake and co-culture experiments. RESULTS:We find that SEVs secreted from MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells carry ?v?3 integrin and bind directly to fibronectin-coated plates, which is inhibited by DisBa-01. SEV coating on tissue culture plates also induces adhesion of MDA-MB-231 cells, which is inhibited by DisBa-01 treatment. Analysis of EV uptake and interchange between cells reveals that the amount of CD63-positive EVs delivered from malignant MDA-MB-231 breast cells to non-malignant MCF10A breast epithelial cells is reduced by DisBa-01 treatment. Inhibition of ?v?3 integrin decreases CD63 expression in cancer cells suggesting an effect on SEV content. CONCLUSION:In summary, our findings demonstrate for the first time a key role of ?v?3 integrin in cell-cell communication through SEVs. Video Abstract.
Project description:Small extracellular vesicles (sEVs) present fairly distinctive lipid membrane features in the extracellular environment. These include high curvature, lipid-packing defects and a relative abundance in lipids such as phosphatidylserine and ceramide. sEV membrane could be then considered as a "universal" marker, alternative or complementary to traditional, characteristic, surface-associated proteins. Here, we introduce the use of membrane-sensing peptides as new, highly efficient ligands to directly integrate sEV capturing and analysis on a microarray platform. Samples were analysed by label-free, single-particle counting and sizing, and by fluorescence co-localisation immune staining with fluorescent anti-CD9/anti-CD63/anti-CD81 antibodies. Peptides performed as selective yet general sEV baits and showed a binding capacity higher than anti-tetraspanins antibodies. Insights into surface chemistry for optimal peptide performances are also discussed, as capturing efficiency is strictly bound to probes surface orientation effects. We anticipate that this new class of ligands, also due to the versatility and limited costs of synthetic peptides, may greatly enrich the molecular toolbox for EV analysis.
Project description:Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are biological vectors that can modulate the metabolism of target cells by conveying signalling proteins and genomic material. The level of EVs in plasma is significantly increased in cardiometabolic diseases associated with obesity, suggesting their possible participation in the development of metabolic dysfunction. With regard to the poor definition of adipocyte-derived EVs, the purpose of this study was to characterise both qualitatively and quantitatively EVs subpopulations secreted by fat cells. Adipocyte-derived EVs were isolated by differential centrifugation of conditioned media collected from 3T3-L1 adipocytes cultured for 24 h in serum-free conditions. Based on morphological and biochemical properties, as well as quantification of secreted EVs, we distinguished two subpopulations of adipocyte-derived EVs, namely small extracellular vesicles (sEVs) and large extracellular vesicles (lEVs). Proteomic analyses revealed that lEVs and sEVs exhibit specific protein signatures, allowing us not only to define novel markers of each population, but also to predict their biological functions. Despite similar phospholipid patterns, the comparative lipidomic analysis performed on these EV subclasses revealed a specific cholesterol enrichment of the sEV population, whereas lEVs were characterised by high amounts of externalised phosphatidylserine. Enhanced secretion of lEVs and sEVs is achievable following exposure to different biological stimuli related to the chronic low-grade inflammation state associated with obesity. Finally, we demonstrate the ability of primary murine adipocytes to secrete sEVs and lEVs, which display physical and biological characteristics similar to those described for 3T3-L1. Our study provides additional information and elements to define EV subtypes based on the characterisation of adipocyte-derived EV populations. It also underscores the need to distinguish EV subpopulations, through a combination of multiple approaches and markers, since their specific composition may cause distinct metabolic responses in recipient cells and tissues.
Project description:Extracellular vesicles (EVs), including exosomes and microvesicles, derived from bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) have been demonstrated as key factors in the progression and drug resistance of multiple myeloma (MM). EV uptake involves a variety of mechanisms which largely depend on the vesicle origin and recipient cell type. The aim of the present study was to identify the mechanisms involved in the uptake of BMSC-derived small EVs (sEVs) by MM cells, and to evaluate the anti-MM effect of targeting this process. <b>Methods:</b> Human BMSC-derived sEVs were identified by transmission electron microscopy, nanoparticle tracking analysis, and western blot. The effects of chemical inhibitors and shRNA-mediated knockdown of endocytosis-associated genes on sEV uptake and cell apoptosis were analyzed by flow cytometry. The anti-MM effect of blocking sEV uptake was evaluated <i>in vitro</i> and in a xenograft MM mouse model. <b>Results:</b> sEVs derived from BMSC were taken up by MM cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner, and subsequently promoted MM cell cycling and reduced their chemosensitivity to bortezomib. Chemical endocytosis inhibitors targeting heparin sulphate proteoglycans, actin, tyrosine kinase, dynamin-2, sodium/proton exchangers, or phosphoinositide 3-kinases significantly reduced MM cell internalization of BMSC-derived sEVs. Moreover, shRNA-mediated knockdown of endocytosis-associated proteins, including caveolin-1, flotillin-1, clathrin heavy chain, and dynamin-2 in MM cells suppressed sEV uptake. Furthermore, an endocytosis inhibitor targeting dynamin-2 preferentially suppressed the uptake of sEV by primary MM cells <i>ex vivo</i> and enhanced the anti-MM effects of bortezomib <i>in vitro</i> and in a mouse model. <b>Conclusion:</b> Clathrin- and caveolin-dependent endocytosis and macropinocytosis are the predominant routes of sEV-mediated communication between BMSCs and MM cells, and inhibiting endocytosis attenuates sEV-induced reduction of chemosensitivity to bortezomib, and thus enhances its anti-MM properties.
Project description:Osteoblast-derived extracellular vesicles (EV) are a collection of secreted (sEVs) and matrix-bound nanoparticles that function as foci for mineral nucleation and accumulation. Due to the fact sEVs can be isolated directly from the culture medium of mineralizing osteoblasts, there is growing interest their application regenerative medicine. However, at present therapeutic advancements are hindered by a lack of understanding of their precise temporal contribution to matrix mineralization. This study advances current knowledge by temporally aligning sEV profile and protein content with mineralization status. sEVs were isolated from mineralizing primary osteoblasts over a period of 1, 2, and 3 weeks. Bimodal particle distributions were observed (weeks 1 and 3: 44 and 164 nm; week 2: 59 and 220 nm), indicating a heterogeneous population with dimensions characteristic of exosome- (44 and 59 nm) and microvesicle-like (164 and 220 nm) particles. Proteomic characterization by liquid chromatography tandem-mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) revealed a declining correlation in EV-localized proteins as mineralization advanced, with Pearson correlation-coefficients of 0.79 (week 1 vs. 2), 0.6 (2 vs. 3) and 0.46 (1 vs. 3), respectively. Principal component analysis (PCA) further highlighted a time-dependent divergence in protein content as mineralization advanced. The most significant variations were observed at week 3, with a significant (p < 0.05) decline in particle concentration, visual evidence of EV rupture and enhanced mineralization. A total of 116 vesicle-localized proteins were significantly upregulated at week 3 (56% non-specifically, 19% relative to week 1, 25% relative to week 2). Gene ontology enrichment analysis of these proteins highlighted overrepresentation of genes associated with matrix organization. Of note, increased presence of phospholipid-binding and calcium channeling annexin proteins (A2, A5, and A6) indicative of progressive variations in the nucleational capacity of vesicles, as well as interaction with the surrounding ECM. We demonstrate sEV-mediated mineralization is dynamic process with variations in vesicle morphology and protein content having a potential influence on developmental changes matrix organization. These findings have implications for the selection and application of EVs for regenerative applications.