Extracellular vesicles (EVs), such as exosomes, have garnered increasing interest because of their potential clinical applications that range from diagnostics to therapeutics. The development of an automated and reproducible EV purification platform would therefore aid the introduction of EV biomarkers and therapies into the clinic.
Hiroshima University researchers demonstrate that K8- as well as K-16 peptides (containing 8 and 16 lysine residues with dissociation constants of 102 nM and 11.6 nM for phosphatidylserine, respectively) immobilized on magnetic beads can capture small EVs (< 0.2 µm) from culture supernatants of MCF7 human breast cancer cells. Importantly, the bound EVs could be dissociated from the beads under mild conditions (e.g. 0.5 M NaCl), and the isolated EVs had the typical shapes of EVs under SEM and TEM with a mean particle size of 99 nm. Using the peptide-immobilized beads, we adapted a pre-existing bench top instrument for magnetic separation to perform automated EV purification with higher purity and yield than that obtained using the standard ultracentrifugation method.
Schematic representation of the automated system used for EV purification
(A) Overview of tips in the pre-existing bench top instrument for magnetic separation. (B) Sequential scheme used for automated EV purification.