Investigation on interaction of Achatinin, a 9-O-acetyl sialic acid-binding lectin, with lipopolysaccharide in the innate immunity of Achatina fulica snails

Mol Immunol. Aug-Sep 2000;37(12-13):745-54. doi: 10.1016/s0161-5890(00)00096-1.


Achatinin, a 9-O-acetyl sialic acid (9-O-AcSA) binding lectin, has been demonstrated to be synthesized in amoebocytes of Achatina fulica snails. This lectin was affinity-purified from Achatina amoebocytes lysate (AAL); it appeared as a single band on native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) and showed 16 identical subunits of M.W. 15 kDa on sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS)-PAGE. It was found to be homologous with an earlier reported lectin, Achatinin-H, derived from hemolymph of A. fulica snails (Sen, G., Mandal, C., 1995. The specificity of the binding site of Achatinin-H, a sialic-acid binding lectin from Achantia fulica. Carbohydr. Res., 268, 115-125). Homology between both lectins was confirmed by their similar electrophoretic mobilities, carbohydrate specificity and cross reactivity on immunodiffusion. Achatinin showed in vitro calcium dependent binding to two 9-O-acetylated sialoglyoconjugates (9-O-AcSG) on lipopolysaccharide (LPS) (Escherichia coli 055: B5) of M.W. 40 kDa and 27.5 kDa, which was abolished following de-O-acetylation. Based on the previously defined narrow sugar specificity of Achatinin towards 9-O-AcSAalpha2-->6GalNAc [Sen, G., Mandal, C., 1995. The specificity of the binding site of Achatinin-H, a sialic-acid binding lectin from Achatina fulica. Carbohydr. Res., 268, 115-125], we conclude that LPS contains this lectinogenic epitope at the terminal sugar moiety. The Achatinin-mediated hemagglutination inhibition of rabbit erythrocytes by LPS further confirmed it. The lectin exhibited bacteriostatic effect on Gram-negative bacteria E. coli, DH5alpha and C600. AAL was earlier reported to undergo coagulation in presence of pg level of LPS (Biswas, C., Mandal, C., 1999. The role of amoebocytes in the endotoxin-mediated coagulation in the innate immunity of Achatina fulica snail, Scand. J. Immunol. 49, 131-138). We now demonstrate that Achatinin participates in LPS-mediated coagulation of AAL as indicated by enhanced release of Achatinin from the LPS stimulated amoebocytes and most importantly, by exhibiting a 77% decline in the coagulation of AAL when depleted of Achatinin. Level of Achatinin sharply declined (17-fold) following injection of LPS (20 microg per snail) to the snails, which was reversible by simultaneous injection of LPS and leupeptin implying the presence of LPS-mediated serine protease activity in Achatinin. This was substantiated when purified Achatinin in vitro showed serine protease activity in the presence of LPS followed by its complete blockage in the presence of leupeptin and phenyl methyl sulphonyl fluoride. Therefore, Achatinin, an abundantly available lectin at multiple sites of A. fulica, by virtue of its interaction with LPS, essentially plays a crucial role in the innate immune protection of A. fulica snails.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium
  • Hemolymph / cytology
  • Hemolymph / immunology
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Lectins / metabolism*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / metabolism*
  • Sialic Acids / metabolism*
  • Snails / immunology*


  • Lectins
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Sialic Acids
  • achatinin(H)
  • 9-O-acetyl-N-acetylneuraminic acid
  • Calcium