A galectin contributes to the innate immune recognition and elimination of pathogens in the freshwater musselHyriopsis cumingii

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Galectins are members of the lectin superfamily. They function as pattern recognition receptors in the innate immune system of vertebrates and invertebrates. A galectin homolog from the triangle sail mussel Hyriopsis cumingii (HcGal2) was cloned and characterized. HcGal2 mRNA was expressed in all tissues examined, displaying particular enrichment in mantle tissue. Interestingly, rHcGAL2 protein was only detected in the mantle, hemocytes, and gills, suggesting that post-transcriptional regulation may occur. HcGal2 expression was induced in the mantle, liver, and hemocytes after exposure to lipopolysaccharides, Gram-negative bacteria (Aeromonas hydrophila), and Gram-positive bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus). The transcript significant upregulated was also detected after implantation in the mantle, pearl sac, liver, and hemocytes. Recombinant HcGAL2 protein (rHcGAL2) agglutinated Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. In addition, rHcGAL2 promoted phagocytosis by hemocytes in vivo. Our data suggest that HcGal2 functioned as a pattern recognition receptor in against the pathogenic microbes and contributed to the “non-self” recognition and elimination in H. cumingii.

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