Parasitic helminths and the host microbiome - a missing 'extracellular vesicle-sized' link?
Infections by gastrointestinal (GI) helminths have been associated with significant alterations of the structure of microbial communities inhabiting the host gut. However, current understanding of the biological mechanisms that regulate these relationships is still lacking. We propose that helminth-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) likely represent key players in helminth-microbiota crosstalk. Here, we explore knowledge of helminth EVs with an emphasis on their putative antimicrobial properties, and we argue that (i) an enhanced understanding of the mechanisms governing such interactions might assist the discovery and development of novel strategies of parasite control, and that (ii) the identification and characterisation of helminth molecules with antimicrobial properties might pave the way towards the discovery of novel antibiotics, thus aiding the global fight against antimicrobial resistance.