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Exosome-Like Nanoparticles (ELNs) Derived from Plants Are Taken Up by Mouse Gut Microbiota and Can Ameliorate Disease

In work published in the November 14, 2018 issue of Cell Host & Microbe, researchers from the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, University of Louisville in Kentucky, together with colleagues, demonstrate that plant-derived exosome-like nanoparticles (ELNs) are taken up by the gut microbiota and contain RNA that alter the mouse microbiome composition and host physiology. The article is titled “Plant-Derived Exosomal MicroRNAs Shape the Gut Microbiota.” Specifically, the authors show that ginger ELNs (GELNs) are preferentially taken up by Lactobacillaceae in a GELN lipid-dependent manner and contain microRNAs (miRNAs) that target various genes in Lactobacillus rhamnosus (LGG). In particular, the authors noted that the GELN mdo-miR7267-3p-mediated targeting of the LGG monooxygenase ycnE yields increased indole-3-carboxaldehyde (I3A). GELN-RNAs or I3A, a ligand for aryl hydrocarbon receptor, are sufficient to induce production of IL-22, which is linked to barrier function improvement. According to the authors, these functions of GELN-RNAs can ameliorate mouse colitis via IL-22-dependent mechanisms. The authors conclude that their findings indicate how plant products and their effects on the microbiome can be used to target specific host processes to alleviate disease. Note that the image here was taken from the article abstract and can be much better viewed at the abstract itself (at the link below).

[Cell Host & Microbe abstract]