Rapid and sensitive exosome detection with CRISPR/Cas12a

Numerous studies have shown that exosomes are closely related to the pathogenesis of various diseases, especially cancers. Therefore, a rapid and sensitive method for exosome detection will be of great importance for the diagnosis and prognosis of diseases. Researchers from the Army Medical University, China report here a method for exosome detection based on the CD63 aptamer and clustered regular interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas12a system. This method consists mainly of exosomal membrane protein recognition based on the CD63 aptamer and signal amplification based on CRISPR/Cas12a. The CD63 aptamer, as an easily adaptable nucleic acid strand, is responsible for the conversion of the amounts of exosomes into nucleic acid detection, whereas CRISPR/Cas12a is responsible for highly specific nucleic acid signal amplification. The detection range of the method was determined as 3 × 103-6 × 107 particles per microliter. Additionally, the researchers successfully applied this method to detect exosomes in clinical samples from both healthy individuals and patients with lung cancer, and the results were highly consistent with those obtained by nanoparticle tracking analysis. In general, this method provides a highly sensitive and specific method for the detection of exosomes and offers an avenue toward future exosome-based diagnosis of diseases.

Clustered regular interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas12a-based
signal amplification for exosome detection


a.u. arbitrary units, FI fluorescence intensity, sg RNA single guide RNA, SMB streptavidin molecular bead

Zhao X, Zhang W, Qiu X, Mei Q, Luo Y, Fu W. (2020) Rapid and sensitive exosome detection with CRISPR/Cas12a. Anal Bioanal Chem 412(3):601-609. [abstract]

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