Lactobacillus-derived extracellular vesicles enhance host immune responses against vancomycin-resistant enterococci

Ming Li, Kiho Lee, Min Hsu, Gerard Nau, Eleftherios Mylonakis, Bharat Ramratnam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Background: Probiotic bacteria are known to modulate host immune responses against various pathogens. Recently, extracellular vesicles (EVs) have emerged as potentially important mediators of host-pathogen interactions. In this study, we explored the role of L. plantarum derived EVs in modulating host responses to vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) using both Caenorhabditis elegans and human cells. Results: Our previous work has shown that probiotic conditioning C. elegans with L. acidophilus NCFM prolongs the survival of nematodes exposed to VRE. Similarly, L. plantarum WCFS1 derived extracellular vesicles (LDEVs) also significantly protected the worms against VRE infection. To dissect the molecular mechanisms of this EV-induced protection, we found that treatment of C. elegans with LDEVs significantly increased the transcription of host defense genes, cpr-1 and clec-60. Both cpr-1 and clec-60 have been previously reported to have protective roles against bacterial infections. Incubating human colon-derived Caco-2 cells with fluorescent dye-labeled LDEVs confirmed that LDEVs could be transported into the mammalian cells. Furthermore, LDEV uptake was associated with significant upregulation of CTSB, a human homologous gene of cpr-1, and REG3G, a human gene that has similar functions to clec-60. Conclusions: We have found that EVs produced from L. plantarum WCFS1 up-regulate the expression of host defense genes and provide protective effects on hosts. Using probiotic-derived EVs instead of probiotic bacteria themselves, this study provides a new direction to treat antimicrobial resistant pathogens, such as VRE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number66
JournalBMC Microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 14 2017


  • CTSB
  • Extracellular vesicles
  • LDEVs
  • Lactobacillus
  • REG3G
  • VRE
  • Vancomycin-resistant enterococci

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Lactobacillus-derived extracellular vesicles enhance host immune responses against vancomycin-resistant enterococci'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this