Characterization of exosomal cargo is of significant interest because this cargo can provide clues to exosome biogenesis, targeting, and cellular effects and may be a source of biomarkers for disease diagnosis, prognosis and response to treatment. With recent improvements in proteomics technologies, both qualitative and quantitative characterization of exosomal proteins is possible. Here we provide a brief review of exosome proteomics studies and provide detailed protocols for global qualitative, global quantitative, and targeted quantitative analysis of exosomal proteins. In addition, we provide an example application of a standard global quantitative analysis followed by validation via a targeted quantitative analysis of urine exosome samples from human patients. Advantages and limitations of each method are discussed as well as future directions for exosome proteomics analysis.
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