Malaria is one the most devastating infectious diseases in the world: of the five malaria-associated parasites, Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax are the most pathogenic and widespread, respectively. P. falciparum invades human red blood cells (RBCs), releasing extracellular vesicles (Pf-EV) carrying DNA, RNA and protein cargo components involved in host-pathogen communications in the course of the disease. Different strategies have been used to analyze Pf-EV biophysically and chemically. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) stands out as a powerful tool for rendering high quality images of extracellular vesicles. In this technique, a sharp tip attached to a cantilever reconstructs the topographic surface of the extracellular vesicles and probes their nano-mechanical properties based on force-distance curves. Weizmann Institute of Science researchers describe a method to separate Pf-EV using differential ultracentrifugation, followed by nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA) to quantify and estimate the size distribution. Finally, the AFM imaging procedure on Pf-EV adsorbed on a Mg2+-modified mica surface is detailed.
Imaging of malaria infected red blood cell extracellular vesicles using atomic force microscopy
Rosenhek-Goldian I, Abou Karam P, Regev-Rudzki N, Rojas A. (2022) Imaging of Extracellular Vesicles Derived from Plasmodium falciparum-Infected Red Blood Cells Using Atomic Force Microscopy. Methods Mol Biol 2470:133-145. [abstract]