Peptide-based capture-and-release purification of extracellular vesicles and statistical algorithm enabled quality assessment

bioRxiv [Preprint]. 2024 Feb 8:2024.02.06.578050. doi: 10.1101/2024.02.06.578050.


Circulating extracellular vesicles (EVs) have gained significant attention for discovering tumor biomarkers. However, isolating EVs with well-defined homogeneous populations from complex biological samples is challenging. Different isolation methods have been found to derive different EV populations carrying different molecular contents, which confounds current investigations and hinders subsequent clinical translation. Therefore, standardizing and building a rigorous assessment of isolated EV quality associated with downstream molecular analysis is essential. To address this need, we introduce a statistical algorithm (ExoQuality Index, EQI) by integrating multiple EV characterizations (size, particle concentration, zeta potential, total protein, and RNA), enabling direct EV quality assessment and comparisons between different isolation methods. We also introduced a novel capture-release isolation approach using a pH-responsive peptide conjugated with NanoPom magnetic beads (ExCy) for simple, fast, and homogeneous EV isolation from various biological fluids. Bioinformatic analysis of next-generation sequencing (NGS) data of EV total RNAs from pancreatic cancer patient plasma samples using our novel EV isolation approach and quality index strategy illuminates how this approach improves the identification of tumor associated molecular markers. Results showed higher human mRNA coverage compared to existing isolation approaches in terms of both pancreatic cancer pathways and EV cellular component pathways using gProfiler pathway analysis. This study provides a valuable resource for researchers, establishing a workflow to prepare and analyze EV samples carefully and contributing to the advancement of reliable and rigorous EV quality assessment and clinical translation.

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  • Preprint