Identification and characterization of a novel intelectin in the digestive tract ofXenopus laevis

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Abstract

The intelectin (Intl) family is a group of secretory lectins in chordates that serve multiple functions, including innate immunity, through Ca2+-dependent recognition of carbohydrate chains. Although six Intl family lectins have so far been reported in Xenopus laevis, none have been identified in the intestine. Using a monoclonal antibody to the Xenopus embryonic epidermal lectin (XEEL or Intl-1), I identified cross-reactive proteins in the intestines. The proteins were purified by affinity chromatography on a galactose-Sepharose column and found to be oligomers consisting of N-glycosylated 39 kDa and 40.5 kDa subunit peptides. N-terminal amino acid sequencing of these peptides, followed by cDNA cloning, identified two novel Intls (designated Intl-3 and Intl-4) that showed 59–79% amino acid identities with known Xenopus Intl family proteins. From the amino acid sequence, immunoreactivity, and properties of the recombinant protein, Intl-3 was considered the intestinal lectin identified by the anti-XEEL antibody. The purified Intl-3 protein could potentially bind to Escherichia coli and its lipopolysaccharides (LPS), and to Staphylococcus aureus and its peptidoglycans, depending on Ca2+. In addition, the Intl-3 protein agglutinated E. coli cells in the presence of Ca2+. Intraperitoneal injection of LPS increased the intestinal and rectal contents of Intl-3 and XCL-1 (or 35K serum lectin) proteins within three days; however, unlike XCL-1, Intl-3 was detectable in neither the sera nor the other tissues regardless of LPS stimulation. Immunohistochemical analyses revealed accumulation of the Intl-3 protein in mucus secretory granules of intestinal goblet cells. The results of this study suggest that Xenopus Intl-3 is involved in the innate immune protection of the digestive tract against bacterial infections.

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