As key mediators of cellular communication, extracellular vesicles (EVs) have been actively explored for diagnostic and therapeutic applications. However, effective methods to functionalize EVs and modulate the interaction between EVs and recipient cells are still lacking. Here we report a facile and universal metabolic tagging technology that can install unique chemical tags (e.g., azido groups) onto EVs. The surface chemical tags enable conjugation of molecules via efficient click chemistry, for the tracking and targeted modulation of EVs. In the context of tumor EV vaccines, we show that the conjugation of toll-like receptor 9 agonists onto EVs enables timely activation of dendritic cells and generation of superior antitumor CD8+ T cell response. These lead to 80% tumor-free survival against E.G7 lymphoma and 33% tumor-free survival against B16F10 melanoma. Our study yields a universal technology to generate chemically tagged EVs from parent cells, modulate EV-cell interactions, and develop potent EV vaccines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8047
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Metabolic tagging of extracellular vesicles and development of enhanced extracellular vesicle based cancer vaccines'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this