Posted: 2021-10-02 19:00:00
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) represent a diverse group of small membrane-encapsulated particles involved in cell-cell communication, but the technologies to characterize EVs are still limited. Hypoxia is a typical condition in solid tumors, and cancer-derived EVs support tumor growth and invasion of tissues by tumor cells. We found that exposure of renal adenocarcinoma cells to hypoxia induced EV secretion and led to notable changes in the EV protein cargo in comparison to normoxia. Proteomics analysis showed overrepresentation of proteins involved in adhesion, such as integrins, in hypoxic EV samples. We further assessed the efficacy of time-gated Raman spectroscopy (TG-RS) and surface-enhanced time-gated Raman spectroscopy (TG-SERS) to characterize EVs. While the conventional continuous wave excitation Raman spectroscopy did not provide a notable signal, prominent signals were obtained with the TG-RS that were further enhanced in the TG-SERS. The Raman signal showed characteristic changes in the amide regions due to alteration in the chemical bonds of the EV proteins. The results illustrate that the TG-RS and the TG-SERS are promising label free technologies to study cellular impact of external stimuli, such as oxygen deficiency, on EV production, as well as differences arising from distinct EV purification protocols.
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