Exosomes and microvesicles are understood to play an important role in many biological processes. Through an understanding of the function and origin of these vesicles, it is expected that diagnostic platforms based on specific subsets of these vesicles will result. In addition, because of their role in cell-to-cell communication and their resulting ability to be internalized within the cell, they represent an exciting alternative as a therapeutic platform.  

Super-resolution microscopy offers the ability to study these vesicles and their biological interactions at unprecedented levels of detail. The ability to image in two fluorescent channels simultaneously, with up to four excitation wavelengths allows for surface markers to be colocalized. The Nanoimager can achieve more than 20 nm resolution on the location of the vesicles - detecting single fluorescence-labeled proteins. This information is expected to improve our understanding the fate and genesis of exosomes within cells, the cargo they carry, markers on their surface and their interaction with other components of the cell, at ten times the resolution of conventional fluorescence imaging.

In the example shown above, we imaged exosomes after uptake by cells under standard fluorescence conditions (not super-resolution imaging). Exosomes were marked with GFP (bright blue spots outside of the nucleus) and the nucleus with DAPI (magenta).