Electromagnetic Piezoelectric Acoustic Sensor Detection of Extracellular Vesicles through Interaction with Detached Vesicle Proteins

Loránd Románszki, Zoltán Varga, Judith Mihály, Zsófia Keresztes, Michael Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


An electromagnetic piezoelectric acoustic sensor (EMPAS) was used to study the non-specific adsorption of human red blood cell-derived extracellular vesicle preparations. Vesicle storage history (temperature and duration) highly affected the obtained results: The signal change, namely the frequency decrease of the crystal measured at 20C, was negligibly small (<1 s−2) when the vesicle solutions had previously been stored at 4C, and was in the order of 10 s−2 when the vesicle solutions had been stored at −30C. Moreover, the rate of frequency decrease increased exponentially with the storage time at −30C. Upon a 4C storage period following the −30C storage period of the same sample, the measured frequency decrease dropped, suggesting a partial relaxation of the system. The results are explained by the disintegration of the vesicles triggered by the freeze–thaw cycle, likely due to the detachment of proteins from the vesicle surface as was proved by size-exclusion chromatography. Surface modification of the sensor crystal provided the possibility of signal enhancement, as the maximum rate of the frequency change for the same vesicle concentrations was higher on hydrophobic, octadecyl trichlorosilane–modified quartz than on hydrophilic, bare quartz. The EMPAS signal has been associated with the amount of detached proteins, which in turn is proportional to the originating vesicle concentration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number173
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This work was supported by the European Commission under grant agreement number 690898/H2020-MSCA-RISE-2015, the National Competitiveness and Excellence Program Hungary, (NVKP_16-1-2016-0007) and BIONANO GINOP-2.3.2-15-2016-00017 projects. Z.V. was supported by the János Bolyai Research Scholarship of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The funding by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office NKFIH under grant number K131594 is also acknowledged (JM).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • adsorption
  • diagnostics
  • electromagnetic piezoelectric acoustic sensor
  • extracellular vesicle
  • quartz


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