Outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) are nanosized spheres secreted by bacteria that are similar to the vesicles known as exosomes, which are secreted by most mammalian cell types. In contrast to many studies focusing on optimizing methods for enriching exosomes from biological fluid, few studies have been conducted to investigate outer membrane vesicles from fecal samples. Herein, we have developed a pipeline comprised of membrane filtration and multiple cycles of ultracentrifugation (UC) to isolate OMVs from fecal samples for proteomics analysis, where multiple cycles of UC are required for removal of contaminants. By iTRAQ labeling quantitative proteomics analysis, different filter sizes (0.22 μm and 0.45 μm) were compared in terms of their performance in enriching OMVs and eliminating background fecal material. Using the 0.45 μm filter, a slightly higher protein yield was obtained but no additional contaminating proteins from bacteria were identified compared to those from the 0.22 μm filter. The 0.45 μm filter together with the multiple cycles of UC were thus used to isolate OMVs for proteomics analysis. To our knowledge, this is the first study profiling a large number of OMV proteins from fecal samples. Such capabilities may help provide valuable information in understanding the communication between the host and microbiota, which is critical in preventing cancer and disease development.
Keywords: Bacteria; Fecal samples; Filter; Outer membrane vesicles; Ultracentrifugation.