Enterohaemorrhagic (EHEC) may instigate bloody diarrhoea and haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) due to Shiga toxin (Stx) production. Stx has been detected within outer membrane vesicles (OMVs), which are membrane-derived nanosized proteoliposomes. During colonisation, EHEC encounters many environmental surroundings such as the presence of bile salts and carbon dioxide (CO2). Here, the influence of different intestinal cues on EHEC OMV production was studied. OMV yield was quantified by densitometric analysis of outer membrane proteins F/C and A, following OMV protein separation by SDS-PAGE. Compared to cultures in Luria broth, higher OMV yields were attained following culture in human cell growth medium and simulated colonic environmental medium, with further increases in the presence of bile salts. Interestingly, lower yields were attained in the presence of T84 cells and CO2. The interaction between OMVs and different human cells was also examined by fluorescence microscopy. Here, OMVs incubated with cells showed internalisation by semi confluent but not fully confluent T84 cell monolayers. OMVs were internalised into the lysosomes in confluent Vero and Caco-2 cells, with Stx being transported to the Golgi and then the Endoplasmic reticulum. OMVs were detected within polarised Caco-2 cells, with no impact on the transepithelial electrical resistance by 24 hours. These results suggest that the colonic environmental factors influences OMV production . Additionally, results highlight the discrepancies which arise when using different cells lines to examine the intestine. Nevertheless, coupled with Stx, OMVs may serve as tools of EHEC which are involved in HUS development.

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