Enrichment of extracellular vesicles from tissues of the central nervous system by PROSPR

Mol Neurodegener. 2016 May 23;11(1):41. doi: 10.1186/s13024-016-0108-1.


Background: Extracellular vesicles (EVs) act as key mediators of intercellular communication and are secreted and taken up by all cell types in the central nervous system (CNS). While detailed study of EV-based signaling is likely to significantly advance our understanding of human neurobiology, the technical challenges of isolating EVs from CNS tissues have limited their characterization using 'omics' technologies. We therefore developed a new Protein Organic Solvent Precipitation (PROSPR) method that can efficiently isolate the EV repertoire from human biological samples.

Results: In the current report, we present a novel experimental workflow that outlines the process of sample extraction and enrichment of CNS-derived EVs using PROSPR. Subsequent LC-MS/MS-based proteomic profiling of EVs enriched from brain homogenates successfully identified 86 of the top 100 exosomal markers. Proteomic profiling of PROSPR-enriched CNS EVs indicated that > 75 % of the proteins identified matched previously reported exosomal and microvesicle cargoes, while also expanded the known human EV-associated proteome with 685 novel identifications. Similarly, lipidomic characterization of enriched CNS vesicles not only identified previously reported EV-specific lipid families (PS, SM, lysoPC, lysoPE) but also uncovered novel lipid isoforms not previously detected in human EVs. Finally, dedicated flow cytometry of PROSPR-CNS-EVs revealed that ~80 % of total microparticles observed were exosomes ranging in diameter from ≤100 nm to 300 nm.

Conclusions: These data demonstrate that the optimized use of PROSPR represents an easy-to-perform and inexpensive method of enriching EVs from human CNS tissues for detailed characterization by 'omics' technologies. We predict that widespread use of the methodology described herein will greatly accelerate the study of EVs biology in neuroscience.

Keywords: Exosomes; Extracellular vesicles; Human brain; Lipidomics; Microvesicles; Proteomics; Tissue extraction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain*
  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods
  • Extracellular Vesicles*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry