Outer membrane vesicles blebbing contributes to B. vulgatus mpk-mediated immune response silencing

Jan Kevin Maerz, Alex Steimle, Anna Lange, Annika Bender, Birgit Fehrenbacher, Julia Stefanie Frick*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


The Gram negative intestinal symbiont Bacteroides vulgatus mpk is able to prevent from induction of colonic inflammation in Rag1−/− mice and promotes immune balance in Il2−/− mice. These inflammation-silencing effects are associated with B. vulgatus mpk-mediated induction of semi-mature dendritic cells, especially in the colonic lamina propria (cLP). However the beneficial interaction of bacteria with host immune cells is limited due to the existence of a large mucus layer covering the intestinal epithelium. How can intestinal bacteria overcome this physical barrier and contact the host immune system? One mechanism is the production of outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) via ubiquitous blebbing of the outer membrane. These proteoliposomes have the ability to traverse the mucus layer. Hence, OMVs play an important role in immunomodulation and the maintenance of a balanced gut microbiota. Here we demonstrate that the stimulation of bone marrow derived dendritic cells (BMDCs) with isolated OMVs originated from B. vulgatus mpk leads to the induction of a tolerant semi-mature phenotype. Thereby, microbe- associated molecular patterns (MAMPs) delivered by OMVs are crucial for the interaction and the resulting maturation of immune cells. Additional to the binding to host TLR4, a yet unknown ligand to TLR2 is indispensable for the conversion of immature BMDCs into a semi-mature state. Thus, crossing the epithelial mucus layer and directly contact host cells, OMV mediate cross-tolerance via the transport of various Toll-like receptor antigens. These features make OMVs to a key attribute of B. vulgatus mpk for a vigorous acellular prevention and treatment of systemic diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalGut Microbes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Bacteroides vulgatus
  • dendritic cells
  • immune response
  • outer membrane vesicles


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