Technological watch

DNA Nanomaterial?Empowered Surface Engineering of Extracellular Vesicles

As natural intercellular transporters, extracellular vesicles (EVs) show great potential as diagnostic biomarkers, therapeutic agents, and drug delivery vehicles. DNA nanomaterials provide an easy?to?use, programmable approach to design and construct sophisticated molecular devices on the EV surface for EV isolation, analysis, and delivery.Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are cell?secreted biological nanoparticles that are critical mediators of intercellular communication. They contain diverse bioactive components, which are promising diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic agents. Their nanosized membrane?bound structures and innate ability to transport functional cargo across major biological barriers make them promising candidates as drug delivery vehicles. However, the complex biology and heterogeneity of EVs pose significant challenges for their controlled and actionable applications in diagnostics and therapeutics. Recently, DNA molecules with high biocompatibility emerge as excellent functional blocks for surface engineering of EVs. The robust Watson–Crick base pairing of DNA molecules and the resulting programmable DNA nanomaterials provide the EV surface with precise structural customization and adjustable physical and chemical properties, creating unprecedented opportunities for EV biomedical applications. This review focuses on the recent advances in the utilization of programmable DNA to engineer EV surfaces. The biology, function, and biomedical applications of EVs are summarized and the state?of?the?art achievements in EV isolation, analysis, and delivery based on DNA nanomaterials are introduced. Finally, the challenges and new frontiers in EV engineering are discussed.

Publication date: 10/12/2023

Advanced Materials


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.