Mechanisms of outer membrane vesicle entry into host cells: MicroReview - OMV entry into host cells

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  • School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham


Bacterial outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) are nano-sized compartments consisting of a lipid bilayer that encapsulates periplasm-derived, luminal content. OMVs, which pinch off of Gram-negative bacteria, are now recognized as a generalized secretion pathway which provides a means to transfer cargo to other bacterial cells as well as eukaryotic cells. Compared with other secretion systems, OMVs can transfer a chemically extremely diverse range of cargo, including small molecules, nucleic acids, proteins, and lipids to proximal cells. Although it is well recognized that OMVs can enter and release cargo inside host cells during infection, the mechanisms of host association and uptake are not well understood. This review highlights existing studies focusing on OMV-host cell interactions and entry mechanisms, and how these entry routes affect cargo processing within the host. It further compares the wide range of methods currently used to dissect uptake mechanisms, and discusses potential sources of discrepancy regarding the mechanism of OMV uptake across different studies.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1508-1517
JournalCellular Microbiology
Issue number11
Early online date16 Sep 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016