The Use of Leishmania-Derived Extracellular Vesicles as a Vaccine Platform Against Emerging Viral Diseases
The painting on the cover, created using mixed media — oil and digital — depicts this journal’s home campus of McGill University at the foot of Montréal’s Mount Royal. The city-scape, illuminated by the blinding accretion disc of a black hole in the night sky, brings these elusive and distant bodies within reach of scientific and creative minds alike.


Extracellular vesicles
Vaccine platform

How to Cite

Cai, S. (2024). The Use of Leishmania-Derived Extracellular Vesicles as a Vaccine Platform Against Emerging Viral Diseases. McGill Science Undergraduate Research Journal, 19(1), 59–64.


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are small membrane-bound “vehicles” responsible for transporting biological materials from source cells to target cells. EVs are thus indirectly capable of inducing changes in the physiological state and behavior of target cells once their contents are successfully released or received. Both prokaryotic and eukaryotic species utilize EVs for a variety of purposes. For example, Leishmania, a protozoan parasite, has demonstrated the ability to secrete immunomodulatory EVs. Various studies have shown that it is not these EVs in themselves, but rather the contents of these EVs that are directly involved in the parasite’s colonization and replication inside host cells. Although using Leishmania as an expression system for recombinant proteins has been explored (investigations have yielded successful and promising results), the use of Leishmania-derived EVs is a burgeoning field of research. In fact, considering extant research on EV-based vaccines, substantial potential lies in exploiting Leishmania-derived EVs as a novel vaccine platform. Hence, this study aims to discuss the immunomodulatory capabilities of Leishmania-derived EVs and their potential application in vaccine development. Lastly, in piecing together the nature of Leishmania-derived EVs and the general therapeutic potential of engineered EVs, it is further hypothesized that Leishmania may be an effective expression system for EVs that harbour desired viral antigens as a part of more efficient vaccine designs.

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