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Title: A Dual-Reporter Platform for Screening Tumor-Targeted Extracellular Vesicles
Extracellular vesicle (EV)-mediated transfer of biomolecules plays an essential role in intercellular communication and may improve targeted drug delivery. In the past decade, various approaches to EV surface modification for targeting specific cells or tissues have been proposed, including genetic engineering of parental cells or postproduction EV engineering. However, due to technical limitations, targeting moieties of engineered EVs have not been thoroughly characterized. Here, we report the bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET) EV reporter, PalmReNL-based dual-reporter platform for characterizing the cellular uptake of tumor-homing peptide (THP)-engineered EVs, targeting PDL1, uPAR, or EGFR proteins expressed in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells, simultaneously by bioluminescence measurement and fluorescence microscopy. Bioluminescence analysis of cellular EV uptake revealed the highest binding efficiency of uPAR-targeted EVs, whereas PDL1-targeted EVs showed slower cellular uptake. EVs engineered with two known EGFR-binding peptides via lipid nanoprobes did not increase cellular uptake, indicating that designs of EGFR-binding peptide conjugation to the EV surface are critical for functional EV engineering. Fluorescence analysis of cellular EV uptake allowed us to track individual PalmReNL-EVs bearing THPs in recipient cells. These results demonstrate that the PalmReNL-based EV assay platform can be a foundation for high-throughput screening of tumor-targeted EVs.
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National Science Foundation
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