The University of Colorado has used Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis to characterise microvesicles as potential biomarkers.
The Yin Research Lab at Colorado University is working to identify peptides that sense membrane curvature to better understand protein/peptide-lipid interactions.
Currently, the group is studying microvesicles as potential biomarkers of tumor progression and cancer metastasis.
These nanoparticles are shed into bodily fluids targeting other cells in the body and are vital for inter-cellular communication.
Their experimental protocol involves lipid vesicle preparation by pressure-controlled extrusion through different membrane pore sizes.
Different lipid vesicle sizes are prepared in order to mimic the size range of the microvesicles that are shed into the extracellular matrix.
Following vesicle extrusion, it is important to validate the vesicle size. By using Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA) technology, the results provide an accurate quantification of different populations of vesicle sizes present in the sample.
Prior to NTA, the group mostly used dynamic light scattering (DLS) to determine the sizes of our synthetic lipid vesicles.
Speaking on their use of NTA, Professor Yin said: “NTA brought several benefits over existing methods. The detection ranges from 10 - 2000 nm for vesicle sizes, dimensions that cover our liposome size of interest.
“Flow cytometry has a lower limit detection of ~200 nm to accurately measure particle sizes so did not reach our lower requirement while DLS measures the average size of all the particles present in the sample rather than accurately distinguish different pools of vesicle sizes, often creating a bias towards larger particles.”