About this Research Topic
Outer membrane vesicles (OMVs), also referred to as blebs or globules from Gram-negative bacteria were first described more than 50 years ago. It has recently been discovered that Gram-positive bacteria also release this kind of vesicles.
In the beginning, they were studied using SDS-PAGE and observed through electronic microscopy. Some of their components, mainly outer membrane proteins, were identified using specific antibodies. In the last 20 years, the composition of these nanostructures has been better understood with the aid of proteomics.
These OMVs, released from the surface of the cell, contain and carry components from the whole cell. Nowadays it is well-known that active toxins, antigenic proteins and proteins related to stress, as well as nucleic acids, are transported within these nanostructures. Since OMVs transport molecules acting as vehicles outside the cells, they have been proposed as a new secretion system. Through genetic engineering, it is possible to obtain almost any protein in order to be transported within these OMVs and act into a specific target.
Taking advantage of their capability to transport molecules, some researches have considered using OMVs as vaccines. It should be noted that some encouraging results have been obtained in this area. In addition, it could be possible to improve OMVs-based vaccines by overexpressing antigenic-recombinant proteins so as to enhance the host’s immune response.
Many questions related to the biogenesis of the vesicles as well as the selection of proteins that can be transported remain unsolved. Special interest has been placed on the role of these structures during in vivo infection processes and their interaction with the host´s immune cells. Even though the interaction of OMVs in animal cells have been addressed, very little is currently known about their interaction with plant cells.
The goal of this topic is to contribute data to further the description of the composition, function, biogenesis, interaction with other microorganisms as well as with eukaryotic cells, and future applications of OMVs.
This Research Topic encourages the submission of original research articles, opinions, perspectives, reviews and mini-reviews that may help better understand the biogenesis, composition, development of vaccines using bacterial OMVs and the role in the interaction with host cells.
Keywords: outer membrane vesicles, bacterial vesicles, OMVs as acellular vaccines, bacterial extracellular vesicles, OMVs as secretion systems
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