Bovis Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) infection induces exosomal miRNA release by human macrophages

Shamila D. Alipoor, Esmaeil Mortaz, Payam Tabarsi, Parissa Farnia, Mehdi Mirsaeidi, Johan Garssen, Masoud Movassaghi, Ian M. Adcock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Background: Tuberculosis (TB) remains a significant global health concern and its diagnosis is challenging due to the limitations in the specificity and sensitivity of the current diagnostic tests. Exosomes are bioactive 30-100nm vesicles produced by most cell types and are found in almost all human body fluids. Exosomal microRNAs (miRNAs) can transfer biological information between cells and tissues and may act as potential biomarkers in many diseases. In this pilot study, we assessed the miRNA profile of exosomes released from human monocyte-derived macrophages upon infection with Mycobacterium bovis Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG). Methods: Human monocytes were obtained from the peripheral blood of three healthy subjects and driven to a monocyte-derived macrophage (MDM) phenotype using standard protocols. MDMs were infected with BCG or left uninfected as control. 72h post-infection, exosomes were collected from the cell culture medium, RNA was isolated and RNA-seq performed. The raw reads were filtered to eliminate adaptor and primer sequences and the sequences were run against the mature human miRNA sequences available in miRBase. MicroRNAs were identified using an E value <0.01. miRNA network analysis was performed using the DIANA miRNA tool, miRDB and functional KEGG pathway analysis. Results: Infection of MDMs with BCG leads to the release of several exosomal miRNAs. These included miR-1224, -1293, -425, -4467, -4732, -484, -5094, -6848-6849, -4488 and -96 all of which were predicted to target metabolism and energy production-related pathways. Conclusions: This study provides evidence for the release of specific exosomal miRNAs from BCG-infected MDMs. These exosomal miRNAs reflect host-pathogen interaction and subversion of host metabolic processes following infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105
JournalJournal of translational medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 12 2017


  • Biomarker
  • Exosome
  • Macrophage
  • MiRNA
  • Mycobacterium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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