Dendritic cells express DC-SIGN, a C-type lectin (CTL) that binds a variety of pathogens and facilitates their uptake for subsequent antigen presentation. DC-SIGN forms remarkably stable microdomains on the plasma membrane. However, inner leaflet lipid markers are able to diffuse through these microdomains suggesting that, rather than being densely packed with DC-SIGN proteins, an elemental substructure exists. Therefore, a super-resolution imaging technique, Blink Microscopy (Blink), was applied to further investigate the lateral distribution of DC-SIGN. Blink indicates that DC-SIGN, another CTL (CD206), and influenza hemagglutinin (HA) are all localized in small (∼80 nm in diameter) nanodomains. DC-SIGN and CD206 nanodomains are randomly distributed on the plasma membrane, whereas HA nanodomains cluster on length scales up to several microns. We estimate, as a lower limit, that DC-SIGN and HA nanodomains contain on average two tetramers or two trimers, respectively, whereas CD206 is often nonoligomerized. Two-color Blink determined that different CTLs rarely occupy the same nanodomain, although they appear colocalized using wide-field microscopy. What to our knowledge is a novel domain structure emerges in which elemental nanodomains, potentially capable of binding viruses, are organized in a random fashion; evidently, these nanodomains can be clustered into larger microdomains that act as receptor platforms for larger pathogens like yeasts.
Copyright © 2012 Biophysical Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.