Damage-free and time-saving platform for continuous sorting and detection of exosomes and host cells in human serum

The growth relationship between exosomes (EXOs) and the host cells is highly desired for tumor evaluations, which puts forward high demand on the accurate and convenient acquisition of their individual quantitative information. However, the tedious and destructive separation process and the requirement of dual-channel detection make it become an extremely challenging task. Researchers at Nanjing University integrated an enzymatic biofuel cell (EBFC)-powered biosensor with a flow cell-supported membrane separation device (FMSC) to develop a continuous separation and detection platform for EXOs and host cancer cells in human serum. The FMSC equipped with an aluminum oxide membrane served as a size-dependent sorting unit to nondestructively extract EXOs from human serum within 5 min, representing a 99.3% reduction in isolating time compared to ultracentrifugation. The EBFC-powered biosensors modified with different aptamers on anodes and cathodes were used as a dual-channel sensing unit. By regulating the controlling valves of different fluid passages, the extracted EXOs and residual host cells could be successively inputted into EBFC-powered biosensors, which generated a segmental degradation in output performance due to the EXO-and host cell-caused increase in the steric hindrance of anodes and cathodes, respectively. Based on these degradations, the researchers obtained the quantitative information of EXOs and host cells with a record-breaking sensitivity (EXOs: 5.59 × 103 particles/mL and host cells: 25 cells/mL). Moreover, the growth relationship between EXOs and host cells was also built, which would be beneficial for the disclosure of the growth state or even more detailed biology information of tumor.

Yimamumaimaiti T, Su Q, Song RB, Gao Y, Yu S, Tan T, Wang L, Zhu JJ, Zhang JR. (2022) Damage-Free and Time-Saving Platform Integrated by a Flow Membrane Separation Device and a Dual-Target Biofuel Cell-Based Biosensor for Continuous Sorting and Detection of Exosomes and Host Cells in Human Serum. Anal Chem [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]

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