The proteome of extracellular vesicles produced by the human gut bacteria Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron in vivo is influenced by environmental and host-derived factors

Régis Stentz, Emily Jones, Rokas Juodeikis, Udo Wegmann, Maria Guirro, Andrew J. Goldson, Arlaine Brion, Catherine Booth, Padhmanand Sudhakar, Ian R. Brown, Tamás Korcsmáros, Simon R. Carding

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Bacterial extracellular vesicles (BEVs) released from both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria provide an effective means of communication and trafficking of cell signaling molecules. In the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) BEVs produced by members of the intestinal microbiota can impact host health by mediating microbe-host cell interactions. A major unresolved question, however, is what factors influence the composition of BEV proteins and whether the host influences protein packaging into BEVs and secretion into the GIT. To address this, we have analyzed the proteome of BEVs produced by the major human gut symbiont Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron both in vitro and in vivo in the murine GIT in order to identify proteins specifically enriched in BEVs produced in vivo. We identified 113 proteins enriched in BEVs produced in vivo, the majority (62/113) of which accumulated in BEVs in the absence of any changes in their expression by the parental cells. Among these selectively enriched proteins, we identified dipeptidyl peptidases and an asparaginase and confirmed their increased activity in BEVs produced in vivo. We also showed that intact BEVs are capable of degrading bile acids via a bile salt hydrolase. Collectively these findings provide additional evidence for the dynamic interplay of host-microbe interactions in the GIT and the existence of an active mechanism to drive and enrich a selected group of proteins for secretion into BEVs in the GIT.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00533-22
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number16
Early online date2 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • bacterial extracellular vesicles
  • Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron
  • intestine
  • microbiota
  • proteome

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