Interspecies communication between plant and mouse gut host cells through edible plant derived exosome-like nanoparticles

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Exosomes, small vesicles participating in intercellular communication, have been extensively studied recently; however, the role of edible plant derived exosomes in interspecies communication has not been investigated. Here, we investigate the biological effects of edible plant derived exosome-like nanoparticles (EPDENs) on mammalian cells.

Methods and results:

In this study, exosome-like nanoparticles from four edible plants were isolated and characterized. We show that these EPDENs contain proteins, lipids, and microRNA. EPDENs are taken up by intestinal macrophages and stem cells. The results generated from EPDEN-transfected macrophages indicate that ginger EPDENs preferentially induce the expression of the antioxidation gene, heme oxygenase-1 and the anti-inflammatory cytokine, IL-10; whereas grapefruit, ginger, and carrot EPDENs promote activation of nuclear factor like (erythroid-derived 2). Furthermore, analysis of the intestines of canonical Wnt-reporter mice, i.e. B6.Cg-Tg(BAT-lacZ)3Picc/J mice, revealed that the numbers of β-galactosidase+ (β-Gal) intestinal crypts are increased, suggesting that EPDEN treatment of mice leads to Wnt-mediated activation of the TCF4 transcription machinery in the crypts.


The data suggest a role for EPDEN-mediated interspecies communication by inducing expression of genes for anti-inflammation cytokines, antioxidation, and activation of Wnt signaling, which are crucial for maintaining intestinal homeostasis.

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