What is it about?

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) play an important role in the transmission of information between cells and can transfer information to other cells to control cell function and state. They are also involved in the development and progression of diseases, and EVs are an area of research that is attracting attention for therapeutic and diagnostic applications. In this paper, authors combined a tethered nanoarray chip with a microfluidic device to create a new platform for measuring individual EVs. Using an electron beam lithography, 10,000 tethering spots with a diameter of 200 nm were densely formed on a 1 mm2 silicon substrate. When EVs are delivered onto the array chip by a microfluidic device, they can be attached to the spots with a positional accuracy of approximately 100 nm. Atomic force microscopy of the immobilized EVs revealed differences in deformability between cells of different origin.

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Why is it important?

Analyzing the diversity of extracellular vesicles will lead to a deeper understanding of vesicle function and how biological information is transmitted between cells. To this end, EVs need to be measured and evaluated individually, but few methods exist to measure single nanoparticles. A new platform based on high-density EV array chips enables measurement and analysis of single nanoparticles, which was not possible with conventional methods.


Combining the new platform based on high-density EV arrays with various analytical techniques such as scanning probe microscopy, MALDI-MS, and micro-spectrophotometry, the physical and chemical properties of individual EVs and their components can be characterized from multiple perspectives. It is also advantageous for omics analysis and machine learning: a better understanding of EV diversity will lead not only to the elucidation of the relationship between pathology and exosomes, but also to the development of techniques for EV classification and isolation. This is expected to make a significant contribution to the advancement of EV biology and the development of exosome therapeutics.

Takanori Ichiki
The University of Tokyo

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This page is a summary of: Extracellular vesicles nanoarray technology: Immobilization of individual extracellular vesicles on nanopatterned polyethylene glycol-lipid conjugate brushes, PLoS ONE, October 2019, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0224091.
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