Nat Commun 10 (1) 3854 [2019-08-26; online 2019-08-26]
Exosomes have been implicated in numerous biological processes, and they may serve as important disease markers. Surface proteins on exosomes carry information about their tissues of origin. Because of the heterogeneity of exosomes it is desirable to investigate them individually, but this has so far remained impractical. Here, we demonstrate a proximity-dependent barcoding assay to profile surface proteins of individual exosomes using antibody-DNA conjugates and next-generation sequencing. We first validate the method using artificial streptavidin-oligonucleotide complexes, followed by analysis of the variable composition of surface proteins on individual exosomes, derived from human body fluids or cell culture media. Exosomes from different sources are characterized by the presence of specific combinations of surface proteins and their abundance, allowing exosomes to be separately quantified in mixed samples to serve as markers for tissue-specific engagement in disease.