Scientists are making progress in the detection of tumor exosomes

Exosomes are lipid bilayer membrane vesicles with a diameter of about 30-150 nm, which can be secreted by almost all cells and are widely distributed in human body fluids. Exosomes carry a variety of substances of origin cells, such as membrane proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, etc., which play a vital role in the occurrence, development and metastasis of tumors, and are an important marker in the early clinical diagnosis of cancer. The electrochemical method has the characteristics of strong stability, high sensitivity and easy operation, which has been widely used in clinical diagnosis, biological sensing, environmental monitoring and so on. The use of electrochemical biosensing technology to achieve highly sensitive and accurate detection of exosomes is of great significance for the early diagnosis, efficacy evaluation and prognostic analysis of cancer.

Recently, researchers at the Suzhou Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chongqing Institute of Green and Intelligent Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have developed a new electrochemical sensor based on two-dimensional transition metal carbon/nitride MXene material for exosome identification and detection. As an emerging two-dimensional material, MXene has a large specific surface area, high conductivity and strong catalytic capacity, and the research on this material has enriched its application in the fields of catalysis, capacitors, biological sensing and imaging.

In this study, the researchers prepared a two-dimensional MXene planar membrane by vacuum-assisted method and used electrochemical applied potential action to load gold (Au) nanoarrays on the surface of the two-dimensional membrane to obtain an Au-MXene two-dimensional composite membrane. On the one hand, this method uses MXene two-dimensional materials to construct a membrane, which can support a large number of epithelial cells to adhere to molecular protein aptamers and specifically identify and capture exosomes; On the other hand, exosomes secreted by purified lung cancer cells (A549) are isolated by ultracentrifugation, and their lysosomal-associated membrane protein aptamers are modified to fill the unbound active sites on the surface of the complex membrane and further amplify the detection signal. The results show that the detectable limit of exosomes of the constructed electrochemical sensor can reach 58 per milliliter, with good repeatability, wide detection range and high sensitivity. The study provides a new platform for accurate detection of exosomes with high sensitivity, and also broadens the application of two-dimensional materials in the field of biological sensing.

Schematic diagram of a two-dimensional composite membrane for exosome detection

The research was published in Biosensors and Bioelectronics under the title Hierarchical Au nanoarrays functionalized 2D Ti2CTx MXene membranes for the detection of exosomes isolated from human lung carcinoma cells. The research work has been funded by the National Key R&D Program, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, and the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province. (Source: Suzhou Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences)

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