Galectin-9 recognizes and exhibits antimicrobial activity toward microbes expressing blood group-like antigens


Blenda AV, Kamili NA, Wu S-C, Abel WF, Ayona D, Gerner-Smidt C, Ho AD, Benian GM, Cummings RD, Arthur CM, et al. Galectin-9 recognizes and exhibits antimicrobial activity toward microbes expressing blood group-like antigens. J Biol Chem. 2022;298 (4) :101704.

Date Published:

2022 04


While adaptive immunity recognizes a nearly infinite range of antigenic determinants, immune tolerance renders adaptive immunity vulnerable to microbes decorated in self-like antigens. Recent studies suggest that sugar-binding proteins galectin-4 and galectin-8 bind microbes expressing blood group antigens. However, the binding profile and potential antimicrobial activity of other galectins, particularly galectin-9 (Gal-9), has remained incompletely defined. Here, we demonstrate that while Gal-9 possesses strong binding preference for ABO(H) blood group antigens, each domain exhibits distinct binding patterns, with the C-terminal domain (Gal-9C) exhibiting higher binding to blood group B than the N-terminal domain (Gal-9N). Despite this binding preference, Gal-9 readily killed blood group B-positive Escherichia coli, whereas Gal-9N displayed higher killing activity against this microbe than Gal-9C. Utilization of microarrays populated with blood group O antigens from a diverse array of microbes revealed that Gal-9 can bind various microbial glycans, whereas Gal-9N and Gal-9C displayed distinct and overlapping binding preferences. Flow cytometric examination of intact microbes corroborated the microbial glycan microarray findings, demonstrating that Gal-9, Gal-9N, and Gal-9C also possess the capacity to recognize distinct strains of Providencia alcalifaciens and Klebsiella pneumoniae that express mammalian blood group-like antigens while failing to bind related strains that do not express mammalian-like glycans. In each case of microbial binding, Gal-9, Gal-9N, and Gal-9C induced microbial death. In contrast, while Gal-9, Gal-9N, and Gal-9C engaged red blood cells, each failed to induce hemolysis. These data suggest that Gal-9 recognition of distinct microbial strains may provide antimicrobial activity against molecular mimicry.
Last updated on 06/07/2022