Cord factor, also called trehalose-6,6'-dimycolate (TDM), is a potent mycobacterial adjuvant. We herein report that the C-type lectin MCL (also called Clec4d) is a TDM receptor that is likely to arise from gene duplication of Mincle (also called Clec4e). Mincle is known to be an inducible receptor recognizing TDM, whereas MCL was constitutively expressed in myeloid cells. To examine the contribution of MCL in response to TDM adjuvant, we generated MCL-deficient mice. TDM promoted innate immune responses, such as granuloma formation, which was severely impaired in MCL-deficient mice. TDM-induced acquired immune responses, such as experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), was almost completely dependent on MCL, but not Mincle. Furthermore, by generating Clec4e(gfp) reporter mice, we found that MCL was also crucial for driving Mincle induction upon TDM stimulation. These results suggest that MCL is an FcRγ-coupled activating receptor that mediates the adjuvanticity of TDM.
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