Size-selective capturing of exosomes using DNA tripods

Understanding biomolecules is crucial for unraveling the mysteries of cellular function and disease. Among these biomolecules, extracellular vesicles (EVs) stand out as tiny packages containing valuable information about their cellular origins. However, traditional methods of purifying EVs involve complex and time-consuming processes that limit their utility, especially when working with small samples. Researchers at The University of Tokyo, have developed a novel approach that promises to revolutionize the purification and analysis of EVs.

The key innovation lies in the use of DNA origami technology—a technique that allows scientists to design and construct precise nanostructures out of DNA molecules. In their study, the researchers utilized a DNA origami tripod equipped with specific binding sites, such as antibodies targeting EV biomarkers. This tripod acts like a molecular trap, selectively capturing EVs carrying the desired biomolecules.

To put this technology to the test, the researchers focused on exosomes, a type of EV known for its role in cell-to-cell communication. They demonstrated that their DNA origami tripod could effectively capture exosomes within a specific size range, even from complex mixtures containing various types of EVs. Moreover, by adjusting the size of the tripod’s aperture, they could control the size of the captured exosomes, offering unprecedented flexibility in EV purification.

What sets this approach apart is its ability to simultaneously target both the size and biomarkers of EVs, streamlining the purification process and enabling precise analysis of target biomolecules. By eliminating the need for multiple purification steps, this technique promises to simplify workflows and conserve precious samples—a boon for researchers working with limited biological materials.

The implications of this breakthrough are far-reaching. With improved methods for EV purification, scientists can delve deeper into the molecular intricacies of cellular communication and disease pathology. Moreover, the ability to isolate specific EV subpopulations opens up new avenues for biomarker discovery and personalized medicine.

The integration of DNA origami technology with EV purification represents a significant advancement in the field of biomolecule analysis. As researchers continue to refine and expand upon this approach, we can look forward to exciting discoveries that will deepen our understanding of biology and pave the way for innovative medical interventions.

Iinuma R, Chen X, Masubuchi T, Ueda T, Tadakuma H. (2024) Size-Selective Capturing of Exosomes Using DNA Tripods. J Am Chem Soc [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]

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