Extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by parasites have important roles in establishing and maintaining infection. Analysis of the soluble and vesicular secretions of adult Fasciola hepatica has established a definitive characterisation of the total secretome of this zoonotic parasite. Fasciola secretes at least two sub-populations of EVs that differ according to size, cargo molecules and site of release from the parasite. The larger EVs are released from the specialised cells that line the parasite gastrodermus and contain the zymogen of the 37 kDa cathepsin L peptidase that performs a digestive function. The smaller exosome-like vesicle population originate from multivesicular bodies within the tegumental syncytium and carry many previously described immunomodulatory molecules that could be delivered into host cells. By integrating our proteomics data with recently available transcriptomic datasets we have detailed the pathways involved with EV biogenesis in F. hepatica and propose that the small exosome biogenesis occurs via ESCRT-dependent MVB formation in the tegumental syncytium before being shed from the apical plasma membrane. Furthermore, we found that the molecular machinery required for EV biogenesis is constitutively expressed across the intra-mammalian development stages of the parasite. By contrast, the cargo molecules packaged within the EVs are developmentally regulated, most likely to facilitate the parasites migration through host tissue and to counteract host immune attack.
Bibliographical noteCopyright © 2015, The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
- Fasciola hepatica
- Extracellular vesicles