Understanding extracellular vesicle and nanoparticle heterogeneity: Novel methods and considerations
journal contributionposted on 11.08.2021, 04:01 by William PhillipsWilliam Phillips, Eduard WillmsEduard Willms, Andrew HillAndrew Hill
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are a heterogeneous population of membrane-enclosed nanoparticles released by cells. They play a role in intercellular communication and are involved in numerous physiological and pathological processes. Cells release subpopulations of EVs with distinct composition and inherent biological function which overlap in size. Current size-based isolation methods are, therefore, not optimal to discriminate between functional EV subpopulations. In addition, EVs overlap in size with several other biological nanoparticles, such as lipoproteins and viruses. Proteomic analysis has allowed for more detailed study of EV composition, and EV isolation approaches based on this could provide a promising alternative for purification based on size. Elucidating EV heterogeneity and the characteristics and role of EV subpopulations will advance our understanding of EV biology and the role of EVs in health and disease. Here, we discuss current knowledge of EV composition, EV heterogeneity and advances in affinity based EV isolation tools.