Exosomes molecular diagnostics: Direct conversion of exosomes into the cDNA for gene amplification by two-step polymerase chain reaction


  • Shabirul Haque The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Northwell Health
  • Sarah R. Vaiselbuh The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Northwell Health




Exosome, cDNA, PCR, single cell PCR, Exo-cDNA, exosomal mRNA transcript


Exosomes are cell derived lipid nanoparticle with a size of 30–100 nm in diameter, found in almost all biological fluids. The composition of the exosomes is mainly lipid, proteins, RNA, DNA, and non-coding RNAs. Currently, most available methods and commercial kits for exosomal-RNA (Exo-RNA) isolation have limitations and shortcomings. Small starting volume of exosomes and the use of extraction/filtration columns results usually insufficient yield of exosomal RNA after isolation. The majority of RNA contained in purified exosomes range in size from 15–500 nucleotides. Some RNA isolation kits are well suited for small RNA transcripts isolation but larger mRNA transcripts are hard to detect. For all of the kits, the cost prize per sample analyzed is very high. Our current method provides a novel way for direct conversion of exosomes into cDNA synthesis (Exo-cDNA) and subsequent gene detection by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). This method has several advantages compared to established available kits. No extraction column is utilized in this procedure which means total recovery of exosomal RNA with maximal yield. In addition, this method is fast and uses a minimal amount of lab supplies, thereby reducing the overall working costs. Our findings suggest that direct conversion of exosomes into cDNA and subsequent gene amplification by two step PCR is a most efficient and reproducible technique. This novel method can be applied to and is useful to advance molecular research of exosomes by solving the problem of low molecular yields.

Author Biography

Shabirul Haque, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Northwell Health

Assistant Professor,  The Karches Center for Oncology, The Feinstein Institute of Medical Research Director, Pediatric Hemato/Oncology, Children



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How to Cite

Haque S, Vaiselbuh SR. Exosomes molecular diagnostics: Direct conversion of exosomes into the cDNA for gene amplification by two-step polymerase chain reaction. J Biol Methods [Internet]. 2018Jul.25 [cited 2021Oct.21];5(3):e96. Available from: https://jbmethods.org/jbm/article/view/249