Background: Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are small membrane-bound vesicles of growing interest in vetetinary parasitology. The aim of the present report was to provide the first isolation, quantification and protein characterization of EVs from buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) sera infected with Theileria spp. Methods: Infected animals were identified through optical microscopy and PCR. EVs were isolated from buffalo sera by size-exclusion chromatography and characterized using western blotting analysis, nanoparticle tracking analysis and transmission electron microscopy. Subsequently, the proteins from isolated vesicles were characterized by mass spectrometry. Results: EVs from buffalo sera have shown sizes in the 124-140 nm range and 306 proteins were characterized. The protein-protein interaction analysis has evidenced biological processes and molecular function associated with signal transduction, binding, regulation of metabolic processes, transport, catalytic activity and response to acute stress. Five proteins have been shown to be differentially expressed between the control group and that infected with Theileria spp., all acting in the oxidative stress pathway. Conclusions: EVs from buffaloes infected with Theileria spp. were successfully isolated and characterized. This is an advance in the knowledge of host-parasite relationship that contributes to the understanding of host immune response and theileriosis evasion mechanisms. These findings may pave the way for searching new EVs candidate-markers for a better production of safe biological products derived from buffaloes.
Keywords: Extracellular vesicles; Theileria spp.; Protozoan parasites; Nanoparticle tracking analysis; Proteomic analysis.