Multiplexed analysis of a single EV (MASEV) reveals unique biomarker composition with diagnostic impact

Extracellular Vesicles

Exosomes and extracellular vesicles (EV) are increasingly being explored as circulating biomarkers, but their heterogenous composition will likely mandate the development of single EV technologies. Highly multiplexed analyses of single EVs have been challenging to implement beyond a few colors during spectral sensing. We use a multiplexed analysis of the single EV technique (MASEV) to interrogate thousands of individual EVs during 5 cycles of multi-channel fluorescence staining for 15 EV biomarkers. Contrary to the common belief, we show that i) several “ubiquitous” markers are much less common than believed; ii) that multiple biomarkers concur in single vesicles but only in small fractions, iii) that affinity purification can lead to loss of rare EV subtypes, and iv) that deep profiling allows detailed analysis of EV potentially improving the diagnostic content. These findings establish the potential of MASEV for uncovering fundamental EV biology and heterogeneity and increasing diagnostic specificity. Graphical abstract Multiplexed analysis of single EV (MASEV) allows robust protein profiling at the single EV level, a prerequisite for early cancer detection or organ of origin determination. Multiplexed analysis of single EV (MASEV) allows robust protein profiling at the single EV level, a prerequisite for early cancer detection or organ of origin determination.

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Recent Publications

Cigarette smoke (CS) represents one of the most relevant environmental risk factors for several chronic pathologies. Tissue damage caused by CS exposure is mediated, at least in part, by oxidative stress induced by its toxic and pro-oxidant components. Evidence demonstrates that extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by various cell types exposed to CS extract (CSE) are characterized by altered biochemical cargo and gained pathological properties. In the present study, we evaluated the content of oxidized proteins and phospholipid fatty acid profiles of EVs released by human bronchial epithelial BEAS-2B cells treated with CSE. This specific molecular characterization has hitherto not been performed. After confirmation that CSE reduces viability of BEAS-2B cells and elevates intracellular ROS levels, in a dose-dependent manner, we demonstrated that 24 h exposure at 1% CSE, a concentration that only slight modifies cell viability but increases ROS levels, was able to increase carbonylated protein levels in cells and released EVs. The release of oxidatively modified proteins via EVs might represent a mechanism used by cells to remove toxic proteins in order to avoid their intracellular overloading. Moreover, 1% CSE induced only few changes in the fatty acid asset in BEAS-2B cell membrane phospholipids, whereas several rearrangements were observed in EVs released by CSE-treated cells. The impact of changes in acyl chain composition of CSE-EVs accounted for the increased saturation levels of phospholipids, a membrane parameter that might influence EV stability, uptake and, at least in part, EV-mediated biological effects. The present in vitro study adds new information concerning the biochemical composition of CSE-related EVs, useful to predict their biological effects on target cells. Furthermore, the information regarding the presence of oxidized proteins and the specific membrane features of CSE-related EVs can be useful to define the utilization of circulating EVs as marker for diagnosing of CS-induced lung damage and/or CS-related diseases.

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