Siglecs and immune regulation

Annu Rev Immunol. 2012;30:357-92. doi: 10.1146/annurev-immunol-020711-075018. Epub 2012 Jan 3.


Sialic acid-binding Ig-like lectins, or Siglecs, vary in their specificity for sialic acid-containing ligands and are mainly expressed by cells of the immune system. Many Siglecs are inhibitory receptors expressed in innate immune cells that regulate inflammation mediated by damage-associated and pathogen-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs and PAMPs). This family also includes molecules involved in adhesion and phagocytosis and receptors that can associate with the ITAM-containing DAP12 adaptor. Siglecs contribute to the inhibition of immune cells both by binding to cis ligands (expressed in the same cells) and by responding to pathogen-derived sialoglycoconjugates. They can help maintain tolerance in B lymphocytes, modulate the activation of conventional and plasmacytoid dendritic cells, and contribute to the regulation of T cell function both directly and indirectly. Siglecs modulate immune responses, influencing almost every cell in the immune system, and are of relevance both in health and disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immune System / immunology*
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Lectins / classification
  • Lectins / metabolism*
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Sialic Acid Binding Immunoglobulin-like Lectins
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism


  • Lectins
  • Sialic Acid Binding Immunoglobulin-like Lectins