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Org Biomol Chem. 2015 Oct 14;13(38):9775-82. doi: 10.1039/c5ob01451d.

Differential detergent sensitivity of extracellular vesicle subpopulations.

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Department of Genetics, Cell- and Immunobiology, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary.


Extracellular vesicles (including exosomes, microvesicles and apoptotic bodies) are currently attracting rapidly increasing attention from various fields of biology due to their ability to carry complex information and act as autocrine, paracrine and even endocrine intercellular messengers. In the present study we investigated the sensitivity of size-based subpopulations of extracellular vesicles to different concentrations of detergents including sodium dodecyl sulphate, Triton X-100, Tween 20 and deoxycholate. We determined the required detergent concentration that lysed each of the vesicle subpopulations secreted by Jurkat, THP-1, MiaPaCa and U937 human cell lines. We characterized the vesicles by tunable resistive pulse sensing, flow cytometry and transmission electron microscopy. Microvesicles and apoptotic bodies were found to be more sensitive to detergent lysis than exosomes. Furthermore, we found evidence that sodium dodecyl sulphate and Triton X-100 were more effective in vesicle lysis at low concentrations than deoxycholate or Tween 20. Taken together, our data suggest that a combination of differential detergent lysis with tunable resistive pulse sensing or flow cytometry may prove useful for simple and fast differentiation between exosomes and other extracellular vesicle subpopulations as well as between vesicular and non-vesicular structures.

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