Exosomes are 40-100 nm sized vesicles released from cells when multivesicular bodies fuse with the plasma membrane. These vesicles take part in cell-to-cell communication by binding and signalling through membrane receptors on cells or by transferring proteins, RNA, and lipids into the cells. Exosomal RNA in body fluids, such as plasma and urine, has been associated with malignancies, making the exosomal RNA a potential biomarker for early detection of these diseases. This has increased the interest in the field of extracellular RNA and in particular, the interest in exosomal RNA. In this chapter, a well-established exosome isolation method is described, as well as how to characterize the isolated vesicles by electron microscopy. Furthermore, two types of RNA isolation methods are described with a focus on isolating RNA from body fluids, which can be more viscous than cell culture media.
- Lässer C. (2013) Identification and Analysis of Circulating Exosomal microRNA in Human Body Fluids. Methods Mol Biol 1024, 109-28. [abstract]