Gut microbiota plays a critical role in maintaining human intestinal homeostasis and host health. Bacterial extracellular vesicles are key players in bacteria-host communication, as they allow delivery of effector molecules into the host cells. Outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) released by Gram-negative bacteria carry many ligands of pattern recognition receptors that are key components of innate immunity. NOD1 and NOD2 cytosolic receptors specifically recognize peptidoglycans present within the bacterial cell wall. These intracellular immune receptors are essential in host defense against bacterial infections and in the regulation of inflammatory responses. Recent contributions show that NODs are also fundamental to maintain intestinal homeostasis and microbiota balance. Peptidoglycan from non-invasive pathogens is delivered to cytosolic NODs through OMVs, which are internalized via endocytosis. Whether this pathway could be used by microbiota to activate NOD receptors remains unexplored. Here, we report that OMVs isolated from the probiotic Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 and the commensal ECOR12 activate NOD1 signaling pathways in intestinal epithelial cells. NOD1 silencing and RIP2 inhibition significantly abolished OMV-mediated activation of NF-κB and subsequent IL-6 and IL-8 expression. Confocal fluorescence microscopy analysis confirmed that endocytosed OMVs colocalize with NOD1, trigger the formation of NOD1 aggregates, and promote NOD1 association with early endosomes. This study shows for the first time the activation of NOD1-signaling pathways by extracellular vesicles released by gut microbiota.
Keywords: Escherichia coli Nissle 1917; NF-κB activation; NOD1; bacterial extracellular vesicles; gut microbiota.