Single-step and highly sensitive imaging of exosomal PD-L1 through branched DNA nanostructures

Exosomal PD-L1 plays a critical role in tumor progress and immunotherapy. However, accurately analyzing exosomal PD-L1 is greatly limited by the small-sized and free-floating nature of exosomes and the few proteins each exosome carries. researchers from Chongqing Medical University have developed a single-step and highly sensitive method, termed aptamer-triggered cascade primer exchange reaction (PER)-generated branched DNA nanostructures, for the quantification and imaging of exosomal PD-L1. The presence of exosomal PD-L1 converted the conformation of the recognition probe, accompanied by the exposure of primer 1. Then, primer 1 actuated the cascade PER, which generated branched DNA nanostructures containing numerous G-quadruplex for binding to thioflavin T (ThT) dye, leading to an amplified fluorescence signal. Profiting from directly growing branched DNA nanostructures on the surface of exosomes, the size of exosomes was enlarged and the movement of exosomes was limited, achieving the imaging of exosomal PD-L1 by conventional optical microscopy in a wash- and label-free fashion. Analyzing exosomal PD-L1 from serum samples of 15 cancer patients and 15 healthy volunteers demonstrated that this simple strategy could distinguish NSCLC patients from healthy donors with high clinical accuracy. Therefore, the developed assay has great potential as a transformative diagnostic toolkit for cancer detection and immunotherapy monitoring.

Li X, Li X, Cheng X, Bian X, Shen B, Ding X, Ding S. (2022) Single-Step and Highly Sensitive Imaging of Exosomal PD-L1 through Aptamer-Activated Cascade Primer Exchange Reaction-Generated Branched DNA Nanostructures. ACS Sens [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]

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