Dectin-1 is a major beta-glucan receptor on macrophages

J Exp Med. 2002 Aug 5;196(3):407-12. doi: 10.1084/jem.20020470.


Zymosan is a beta-glucan- and mannan-rich particle that is widely used as a cellular activator for examining the numerous responses effected by phagocytes. The macrophage mannose receptor (MR) and complement receptor 3 (CR3) have historically been considered the major macrophage lectins involved in the nonopsonic recognition of these yeast-derived particles. Using specific carbohydrate inhibitors, we show that a beta-glucan receptor, but not the MR, is a predominant receptor involved in this process. Furthermore, nonopsonic zymosan binding was unaffected by genetic CD11b deficiency or a blocking monoclonal antibody (mAb) against CR3, demonstrating that CR3 was not the beta-glucan receptor mediating this activity. To address the role of the recently described beta-glucan receptor, Dectin-1, we generated a novel anti-Dectin-1 mAb, 2A11. Using this mAb, we show here that Dectin-1 was almost exclusively responsible for the beta-glucan-dependent, nonopsonic recognition of zymosan by primary macro-phages. These findings define Dectin-1 as the leukocyte beta-glucan receptor, first described over 50 years ago, and resolves the long-standing controversy regarding the identity of this important molecule. Furthermore, these results identify Dectin-1 as a new target for examining the immunomodulatory properties of beta-glucans for therapeutic drug design.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Glucans / pharmacology
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Macrophage-1 Antigen / physiology
  • Macrophages / chemistry*
  • Membrane Proteins / analysis*
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / analysis*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology
  • Receptors, Immunologic / analysis*
  • Zymosan / metabolism


  • Glucans
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Macrophage-1 Antigen
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • beta-glucan receptor
  • dectin 1
  • Zymosan