The release of extracellular vesicles, whether MVs (microvesicles) or exosomes, from host cells or intracellular pathogens is likely to play a significant role in the infection process. Host MVs may fuse with pathogen surfaces to deliver host complement regulatory proteins. They may also deliver cytokines that enhance invasion. Decoy functions are also possible. Whereas host MVs may direct pathogens away from their target cells, pathogen MVs may in turn redirect complement membrane-attack complexes away from their target pathogen. An understanding of the mechanisms of this interplay, bringing about both immune evasion and enhanced invasion, will help to direct future research with a view to rendering pathogens more susceptible to immune attack or in improving drug efficacy. It should also be possible to use MVs or exosomes isolated directly from the pathogens, or from the cells infected with pathogens, to provide alternative vaccination strategies.

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