Technical challenges of working with extracellular vesicles

Charoenviriyakul, Chonlada, Yuki Takahashi, Masaki Morishita, Makiya Nishikawa, and Yoshinobu Takakura. "Role of extracellular vesicle surface proteins in the pharmacokinetics of extracellular vesicles." Molecular pharmaceutics (2018).

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are small membrane vesicles secreted from cells and have great potential as drug delivery carriers. Surface proteins on EV membranes might play roles in pharmacokinetics. One method which can be used to study the role of surface membrane of EV is to modify the inner space of EV. In the present study, we constructed a plasmid DNA expressing a fusion protein of Gag protein derived from Moloney murine leukemia virus (Gag) and Gaussia luciferase (gLuc) (Gag-gLuc) to modify the inner space of EVs. EVs were collected from B16BL6 melanoma cells, transfected with the plasmid, and isolated by a differential ultracentrifugation method. Gag-gLuc EVs were negatively charged globular vesicles with a diameter of approximately 100 nm. gLuc labeling of the Gag-gLuc EVs was stable in serum. gLuc activity of Gag-gLuc EVs was minimally decreased by proteinase K (ProK) treatment, indicating that gLuc was modified in the inner space of EV. Then, to evaluate the effect of the surface proteins of EVs on their pharmacokinetics, Gag-gLuc EVs treated with ProK were intravenously administered to mice. Volume of distribution (Vd) was significantly smaller for treated EVs than untreated EVs. Moreover, integrin α6β1, an integrin known to be involved in lung targeting, was degraded after ProK treatment. The ProK treatment significantly reduced the lung distribution of EVs after intravenous injection. These results indicate that the surface proteins of EVs such as integrin α6β1 play some roles in pharmacokinetics in terms of reducing Vd and their distribution to the lung

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