Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) are heterogeneous membrane-enclosed nanoparticles enriched in proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids, that are released by all cells.

EVs released by cancer cells carry specific oncoproteins and miRNAs as cargo and are decorated with surface biomarkers informing about their organ of origin and cancer status. Therefore, deciphering EV heterogeneity has great potential to enable early cancer detection, prognosis, and to guide therapy.

EVs’ specific role depends on their size and their cargo; the characterization of EVs’ structural and biochemical features is essential to understand their diagnostic and/or prognostic potential [3]. Function-dependent morphology is best verified by microscopic techniques: however, the vast majority of EVs are too small for the resolutive power of conventional optical microscopes.  

What is needed to characterize single-vesicle morphology and perform biomarker analysis at the nanoscale with SMLM? 

  1. Selective immobilization of EVs on a super-resolution glass slide; Abbelight Smart EVs kit contains the necessary reagents to perform highly specific affinity capture of EVs from cell culture medium or plasma.   
  2. Single molecule visualization of immobilized EVs. 
  3. Adapted analytical tools. Abbelight Neo software integrates powerful clustering algorithms for segmentation and accurate morphological description of single molecule EV datasets.
3D EVs taken by the Abbelight Ultimate 3D on SAFe MN360 plateform


1. Maas SLN, Breakefield XO, Weaver AM. Extracellular vesicles: unique intercellular delivery vehicles. Trends Cell Biol [Internet]. NIH Public Access; 2017 [cited 2021 Dec 1];27:172. Available from: /pmc/articles/PMC5318253/

2.Hoshino A, Kim HS, Bojmar L, Gyan KE, Cioffi M, Hernandez J, et al. Extracellular Vesicle and Particle Biomarkers Define Multiple Human Cancers. Cell [Internet]. Cell; 2020 [cited 2021 Dec 1];182:1044-1061.e18. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32795414/

3.Chen IH, Xue L, Hsu CC, Paez JSP, Panb L, Andaluz H, et al. Phosphoproteins in extracellular vesicles as candidate markers for breast cancer. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A [Internet]. National Academy of Sciences; 2017 [cited 2021 Dec 1];114:3175–80. Available from: https://www.pnas.org/content/114/12/3175