Urinary exosomes are nanovesicles (40-100 nm) of endocytic origin that are secreted into the urine when a multivesicular body fuses with the membrane of cells from all nephron segments. Interest in urinary exosomes intensified after the discovery that they contain not only protein and mRNA but also microRNA (miRNA) markers of renal dysfunction and structural injury. Currently, the most widely used protocol for the isolation of urinary exosomes is based on ultracentrifugation, a method that is time consuming, requires expensive equipment, and has low scalability, which limits its applicability in the clinical practice.In this chapter, a simple, fast, and highly scalable step-by-step method for isolation of urinary exosomes is described. This method starts with a 10-min centrifugation of 10 ml urine, then the supernatant is saved (SN1), and the pellet is treated with dithiothreitol and heat to release and recover those exosomes entrapped by polymeric Tamm-Horsfall protein. The treated pellet is then resuspended and centrifuged, and the supernatant obtained (SN2) is combined with the first supernatant, SN1. Next, 3.3 ml of ExoQuick-TC, a commercial exosome precipitation reagent, is added to the total supernatant (SN1 + SN2), mixed well, and saved for at least 12 h at 4 °C. Finally, a pellet of exosomes is obtained after a 30-min centrifugation of the supernatant/-TC mix. We previously compared this method with five others used to isolate urinary exosomes and found that this is the simplest, fastest, and most effective alternative to ultracentrifugation-based protocols if the goal of the study is RNA profiling. A method for isolation and quantification of miRNAs and mRNAs from urinary exosomes is also described here. In addition, we provide a step-by-step description of exosomal miRNA profiling using universal reverse transcription and SYBR qPCR.
Isolation of urinary exosomes for RNA biomarker discovery
Alvarez ML. (2014) Isolation of urinary exosomes for RNA biomarker discovery using a simple, fast, and highly scalable method. Methods Mol Biol 1182:145-70. [abstract]