Isolation of Extracellular Vesicles from Leishmania spp

Methods Mol Biol. 2020;2116:555-574. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-0294-2_33.


Exosomes, a class of extracellular vesicles, are released by eukaryotes, bacteria, and archaea, as evident from both in vitro and in vivo studies. These nano-sized double-membraned vesicles play an important role in cell-to-cell communication, dysregulation of the immune system, and pathogenesis in a number of diseases, including leishmaniasis. Leishmania is a genus of obligate intracellular parasites, which infect host macrophages, are transmitted through the bite of a sandfly, and are shown to secrete exosomes with immunomodulatory activities. Given the importance of these vesicles in Leishmania spp. virulence, it is necessary to perform appropriate isolation and characterization in order to further study their relevance in the parasite's infectious life cycle. In this chapter, we describe four methods for the isolation of extracellular vesicles derived from Leishmania species including ultracentrifugation, polyethylene glycol-based precipitation, size-exclusion chromatography, and sucrose-gradient fractionation. Further, we describe the preparation of isolated samples for characterization by nanoparticle tracking analysis, transmission electron microscopy, and proteomic profiling.

Keywords: Exosomes; ExtraPEG; Extracellular vesicles; Leishmania; Micro BCA; Nanoparticle tracking analysis; Size exclusion chromatography; Sucrose gradient; Transmission electron microscopy; Trichloroacetic acid protein precipitation; Ultracentrifugation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Fractionation / instrumentation
  • Cell Fractionation / methods*
  • Centrifugation, Density Gradient / instrumentation
  • Centrifugation, Density Gradient / methods
  • Chromatography, Gel / instrumentation
  • Chromatography, Gel / methods
  • Exosomes*
  • Leishmania / cytology*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Proteomics / methods