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Exosomes from Plasmodium yoelii-Infected Reticulocytes Protect Mice from Lethal Infections
Published: Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Author: Lorena Martin-Jaular et al.

by Lorena Martin-Jaular, Ernesto S. Nakayasu, Mireia Ferrer, Igor C. Almeida, Hernando A. del Portillo

Exosomes are 30–100-nm membrane vesicles of endocytic origin that are released after the fusion of multivesicular bodies (MVBs) with the plasma membrane. While initial studies suggested that the role of exosomes was limited to the removal of proteins during the maturation of reticulocytes to erythrocytes, recent studies indicate that they are produced by different types of cells and are involved in promoting inter-cellular communication and antigen presentation. Here, we describe the isolation and characterization of exosomes from peripheral blood of BALB/c mice infected with the reticulocyte-prone non-lethal Plasmodium yoelii 17X strain. Importantly, proteomic analysis revealed the presence of parasite proteins in these vesicles. Moreover, immunization of mice with purified exosomes elicited IgG antibodies capable of recognizing P. yoelii-infected red blood cells. Furthermore, lethal challenge of immunized mice with the normocyte-prone lethal P. yoelii 17XL strain caused a significant attenuation in the course of parasitaemia, increased survival time, and altered the cell tropism to reticulocytes. These results were obtained also when the exosomes were isolated from a P. yoelii-infected reticulocyte culture indicating that reticulocyte-derived exosomes carry antigens and are involved in immune modulation. Moreover, inclusion of CpG ODN 1826 in exosome immunizations elicited IgG2a and IgG2b antibodies and promoted survival, clearance of parasites and subsequent sterile protection of 83% of the animals challenged with P. yoelli 17XL. To our knowledge, this is the first report of immune responses elicited by exosomes derived from reticulocytes opening new avenues for the modulation of anti-malaria responses.