Lipopolysaccharide structure impacts the entry kinetics of bacterial outer membrane vesicles into host cells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of Texas McGovern Medical School at Houston, Houston, TX, 77030, USA.


Outer membrane vesicles are nano-sized microvesicles shed from the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria and play important roles in immune priming and disease pathogenesis. However, our current mechanistic understanding of vesicle - host cell interactions is limited by a lack of methods to study the rapid kinetics of vesicle entry and cargo delivery to host cells. Here, we describe a highly sensitive method to study the kinetics of vesicle entry into host cells in real-time using a genetically encoded, vesicle-targeted probe. We found that the route of vesicular uptake, and thus entry kinetics and efficiency, are shaped by bacterial cell wall composition. The presence of lipopolysaccharide O antigen enables vesicles to bypass clathrin-mediated endocytosis, which enhances both their entry rate and efficiency into host cells. Collectively, our findings highlight the composition of the bacterial cell wall as a major determinant of secretion-independent delivery of virulence factors during Gram-negative infections.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1006760
JournalPLoS pathogens
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2017


  • outer membrane vesicles , lipopolysaccharide , serotype , FRET kinetics , extracellular vesicles , cargo uptake , vesicle trafficking , endocytosis