Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) Technique May Help Elucidate Mysteries of Exosomes

Despite great progress in understanding various cellular mechanisms over the last decades, many of mysteries remain. Such is the case for exosomes, small cell-released vesicles that can contain various molecules, including RNAs, DNA, proteins, and lipids. The roles of exosomes are believed to be quite varied and important, both for normal bodily functions and also in the spreading of diseases like cancer. However, exosomes are so small that studying them is challenging and typically calls for costly and time-consuming techniques, such as electron microscopy (EM). To tackle this difficulty, a team of undergraduate students from Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST), Korea, explored a different and promising method for analyzing exosomes. In their study, which was published in PLOS One (https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0231994), the students focused on dynamic light scattering (DLS), a laser-based technique that can be used to easily determine statistical parameters about the sizes of a large number of vesicles. What was admirable, according to Professor Jung-Ah Cho (corresponding author of the study), was that "the undergraduate students independently conducted the whole study under DGIST's Undergraduate Group Research Program with no external help." The open-access PLOS One article is titled “The Characterization of Exosomes from Fibrosarcoma Cell and the Useful Usage of Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) for Their Evaluation.” First, the students compared the exosomes of two types of cancer cells: a well-studied breast cancer cell line and a mouse fibrosarcoma cell line. The exosomes secreted by cancer cells of the latter type had rarely been studied before.
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