Cell Biology


Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 3979 Views Aug 5, 2020
Small extracellular vesicles (sEVs) encompass a variety of distinct vesicles that are secreted to the extracellular space. Many methodologies currently used for EV isolation (e.g., differential ultracentrifugation concluding in a high-speed pellet, precipitation by macromolecular crowding agents or size excusion chromatography–SEC) do not fractionate distinct sEV sub-populations. Samples obtained by the aforementioned methods are usually used for characterization and physiological studies. However the fraction that contains the molecule of interest or is the carrier of a specific activity is unknown. Therefore isolating distinct sEV sub-populations is critical to understand EV function. The goal of this procedure is to purify distinct sEV sub-populations based on slight differences in their buoyant density. Moreover, this technique also allows sEVs purification from vesicle-free RNA-protein complexes co-isolating in the high-speed pellet or by the use of crowding agents. This protocol describes cultivation of mammalian cells for sEV collection, sEV sedimentation, buoyant density fractionation of sEV sub-populations and immunoblots for sEV markers. This protocol can be used to fractionate distinct sEV sub-populations produced by a variety of mammalian cells.
0 Q&A 4114 Views Jun 5, 2020
Exosomes, a subtype of extracellular vesicles, are nanovesicles of endocytic origin. Exosomes contain a plethora of proteins, lipids, and genetic materials of parent cells to facilitate intercellular communications. Tracking exosomes in vivo is fundamentally important to understand their biodistribution pattern and the mechanism of biological actions in experimental models. Until now, a number of tracking protocols have been developed, including fluorescence labeling, bioluminescence imaging, magnetic resonance imaging, and computed tomography (CT) tracking of exosomes. Recently, we have shown the tracking and quantification of exosomes in a spinal cord injury model, by using two tracking approaches. More specifically, following intranasal administration of gold nanoparticle-encapsulated exosomes to rats bearing complete spinal cord injury, exosomes in the whole central nervous system were tracked by using microCT, and quantified by using inductively coupled plasma and flame atomic absorption spectroscopy. In addition, optical imaging of fluorescently labeled exosomes was performed to understand the abundance of migrating exosomes in the spinal cord lesion, as compared to the healthy controls, and to further examine their affinity to different cell types in the lesion. Thus, the protocol presented here aids in the study of exosome biodistribution at both cellular and organ levels, in the context of spinal cord injury. This protocol will also enable researchers to better elucidate the fate of administered exosomes in other models of interest.
0 Q&A 4728 Views Jun 5, 2020
Milk is a complex fluid that contains various types of proteins and extracellular vesicles (EVs). Some proteins can mingle with EVs, and interfere with their isolation. Among these proteins, caseins form micelles of a size comparable to milk EVs, and can thus be co-isolated with EVs. Preliminary steps that affect milk are crucial for EV isolation and impact the purity and abundance of isolated EVs. In the course of our previous works on cow’s milk EVs, we found that sodium citrate (1% final), which is a biocompatible reagent capable of breaking down casein micelles into 40-nm monomers, allowed the isolation of high quantities of EVs with low coprecipitation of caseins or other contaminating proteins. Using this protocol, we successfully separated different EV subsets, characterized in depth their morphology, protein content and small RNA enrichment patterns. We were also able to describe their biological function in a mouse model of intestinal inflammation. We, hereby, detail the differential ultracentrifugation procedure that leads to high quantify, medium specificity, isolation of different milk EV subsets from the same sample. More specifically, we highlight the use of sodium citrate as a standardized approach to isolate and study milk EVs and its potential for isolation techniques other than differential ultracentrifugation.
0 Q&A 5652 Views Apr 20, 2020
Exosomes secreted by colonic epithelial cells are present in feces and contain valuable epigenetic information, such as miRNAs, proteins, and metabolites. An in-depth study of this information is conducive to the diagnosis or treatment of relevant diseases. A crucial prerequisite of such a study is to establish an efficient isolation method, through which we can obtain a relatively more significant amount of exosomes from feces. This protocol is designed to effectively isolate a large number of exosomes from contaminants and other particles in feces by a combined method with fast filtration and sucrose density gradient ultracentrifugation. Exosomes generated by this method are suitable for further RNA, protein, and lipid analysis.
1 Q&A 5821 Views Apr 5, 2020
Exosomes are dynamic nanovesicles secreted by virtually all cells and are present in all biological fluids. Given their highly heterogeneous content exosomes have been implicated in many physiological and pathological processes that they exert by influencing cell-cell and cell-ECM communication. In recent years an increasing number of methods have been established for the purification and characterization of exosomes. These include ultracentrifugation, ultrafiltration, size exclusion chromatography, immune capture and precipitation using a proprietary polymer. Here, we provide a protocol based on differential ultracentrifugation and sucrose density gradients tailored for the isolation of crude and ultra-pure exosomes from primary fibroblast cultures derived from adult mouse skeletal muscle. This protocol can be adapted and modified for the isolation and characterization of exosomes from a variety of tissues and bodily fluids.
0 Q&A 11109 Views Apr 5, 2017
Exosomes are membranous extracellular nanovesicles of endocytic origin. Exosomes are known to carry host and pathogen-derived genomic, proteomic, lipidomic cargos and other extraneous molecules. Exosomes are secreted by diverse cell types into the extracellular milieu and are subsequently internalized by recipient neighboring or distal cells. Upon internalization, exosomes condition recipient cells by donating their cargos and/or activating various signal transduction pathways, consequently regulating physiological and pathophysiological processes. Exosomes facilitate intercellular communication, modulate cellular phenotype, and regulate microbial pathogenesis. We have previously shown that semen exosomes (SE) inhibit HIV-1 replication in various cell types. Here, we describe detailed protocols for characterizing SE. This protocol can be adapted or modified and used for evaluation of other extracellular vesicles of interest.
0 Q&A 11567 Views Feb 20, 2017
To study the inhomogeneity within a cell population including exosomes properties such as exosome secretion rate of cells and surface markers carried by exosomes, we need to quantify and characterize those exosomes secreted by each individual cell. Here we develop a method to collect and analyze exosomes secreted by an array of single cells using antibody-modified glass slides that are position-registered to each single cell. After each collection, antibody-conjugated quantum dots are used to label exosomes to allow counting and analysis of exosome surface proteins. Detailed studies of exosome properties related to cell behaviors such as responses to drugs and stress at single cell resolution can be found in the publication (Chiu et al., 2016).
0 Q&A 19737 Views Apr 20, 2014
Exosomes are small membrane vesicles of endocytic origin secreted into the extracellular environment from a variety of different cells, and are thought to play important roles in intercellular communications. Here, we provide a useful protocol to purify the exosomes released from cell lines using sucrose gradient centrifugation. In this protocol, we also applied a red-fluorescent lipophilic dye, DiI, which is incorporated in the outer membrane of exosomes. This fluorescently labeled exosomes allow us to visualize individual exosomes by a confocal laser scanning microscope.

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