Review article

Versatile effects of bacterium-released membrane vesicles on mammalian cells and infectious/ inflammatory diseases

Authors: You-jiang YU1, Xiao-hong WANG2,3, Guo-Chang FAN2,3
1 1Medical College of Yangzhou Polytechnic College, Yangzhou 225009, China;
2 2Department of Pharmacology and Cell Biophysics,
3 University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH 45267, USA
Corresponding to: Guo-Chang FAN:,
DOI: 10.1038/aps.2017.82
Received: 31 August 2017
Accepted: 5 April 2017
Advance online: 10 May 2017


Gram-negative bacterium-released outer-membrane vesicles (OMVs) and Gram-positive bacterium-released membrane vesicles (MVs) share significant similarities with mammalian cell-derived MVs (eg, microvesicles and exosomes) in terms of structure and their biological activities. Recent studies have revealed that bacterial OMVs/MVs could (1) interact with immune cells to regulate inflammatory responses, (2) transport virulence factors (eg, enzymes, DNA and small RNAs) to host cells and result in cell injury, (3) enhance barrier function by stimulating the expression of tight junction proteins in intestinal epithelial cells, (4) upregulate the expression of endothelial cell adhesion molecules, and (5) serve as natural nanocarriers for immunogenic antigens, enzyme support and drug delivery. In addition, OMVs/MVs can enter the systemic circulation and induce a variety of immunological and metabolic responses. This review highlights the recent advances in the understanding of OMV/MV biogenesis and their compositional remodeling. In addition, interactions between OMVs/MVs and various types of mammalian cells (ie, immune cells, epithelial cells, and endothelial cells) and their pathological/preventive effects on infectious/inflammatory diseases are summarized. Finally, methods for engineering OMVs/MVs and their therapeutic potential are discussed.
Keywords: bacterium-released membrane vesicles; microvesicles; inflammation; vaccine; infectious diseases