Immunization with Escherichia coli outer membrane vesicles protects bacteria-induced lethality via Th1 and Th17 cell responses

J Immunol. 2013 Apr 15;190(8):4092-102. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1200742. Epub 2013 Mar 20.


Outer membrane vesicles (OMVs), secreted from Gram-negative bacteria, are spherical nanometer-sized proteolipids enriched with outer membrane proteins. OMVs, also known as extracellular vesicles, have gained interests for use as nonliving complex vaccines and have been examined for immune-stimulating effects. However, the detailed mechanism on how OMVs elicit the vaccination effect has not been studied extensively. In this study, we investigated the immunological mechanism governing the protective immune response of OMV vaccines. Immunization with Escherichia coli-derived OMVs prevented bacteria-induced lethality and OMV-induced systemic inflammatory response syndrome. As verified by adoptive transfer and gene-knockout studies, the protective effect of OMV immunization was found to be primarily by the stimulation of T cell immunity rather than B cell immunity, especially by the OMV-Ag-specific production of IFN-γ and IL-17 from T cells. By testing the bacteria-killing ability of macrophages, we also demonstrated that IFN-γ and IL-17 production is the main factor promoting bacterial clearances. Our findings reveal that E. coli-derived OMV immunization effectively protects bacteria-induced lethality and OMV-induced systemic inflammatory response syndrome primarily via Th1 and Th17 cell responses. This study therefore provides a new perspective on the immunological detail regarding OMV vaccination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / immunology
  • Cell Membrane / microbiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Escherichia coli Infections / immunology*
  • Escherichia coli Infections / mortality*
  • Escherichia coli Infections / pathology
  • Escherichia coli Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Escherichia coli Vaccines / immunology*
  • Exosomes / immunology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Sepsis / immunology
  • Sepsis / microbiology
  • Sepsis / prevention & control
  • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome / immunology
  • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome / microbiology
  • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome / pathology
  • Th1 Cells / immunology*
  • Th1 Cells / microbiology
  • Th1 Cells / pathology
  • Th17 Cells / immunology*
  • Th17 Cells / microbiology
  • Th17 Cells / pathology


  • Escherichia coli Vaccines