DCIR interacts with ligands from both endogenous and pathogenic origin

Immunol Lett. 2014 Mar-Apr;158(1-2):33-41. doi: 10.1016/j.imlet.2013.11.007. Epub 2013 Nov 14.


C-type lectins on dendritic cells function as antigen uptake and signaling receptors, thereby influencing cellular immune responses. Dendritic cell-specific intercellular adhesion molecule-3-grabbing non-integrin (DC-SIGN) is one of the best-studied C-type lectin receptors expressed on DCs and its glycan specificity and functional requirements for ligand binding have been intensively investigated. The carbohydrate specificity of dendritic cell immunoreceptor (DCIR), another DC-expressed lectin, was still debated, but we have recently confirmed DCIR as mannose/fucose-binding lectin. Since DC-SIGN and DCIR may potentially share ligands, we set out to elucidate the interaction of DCIR with established DC-SIGN-binding ligands, by comparing the carbohydrate specificity of DCIR and DC-SIGN in more detail. Our results clearly demonstrate that DC-SIGN has a broader glycan specificity compared to DCIR, which interacts only with mannotriose, sulfo-Lewis(a), Lewis(b) and Lewis(a). While most of the tested DC-SIGN ligands bound DCIR as well, Candida albicans and some glycoproteins on some cancer cell lines were identified as DC-SIGN-specific ligands. Interestingly, DCIR strongly bound human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) gp140 glycoproteins, while its interaction with the well-studied DC-SIGN-binding HIV-1 ligand gp120 was much weaker. Furthermore, DCIR-specific ligands were detected on keratinocytes. Furthermore, the interaction of DCIR with its ligands was strongly influenced by the glycosylation of DCIR. In conclusion, we show that sulfo-Lewis(a) is a high affinity ligand for DCIR and that DCIR interacts with ligands from both pathogenic and endogenous origin of which most are shared by DC-SIGN.

Keywords: C-type lectins; Dendritic cell; Glycan; Glycosylation; Pathogen and cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / agonists
  • Candida albicans / immunology
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / immunology
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism*
  • Cricetulus
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Glycosylation
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp120 / agonists
  • HIV-1 / immunology*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes / immunology*
  • Lectins, C-Type / immunology
  • Lectins, C-Type / metabolism*
  • Lewis Blood Group Antigens
  • Ligands
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / immunology
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Oligosaccharides / agonists
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism
  • Protein Binding / genetics
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / immunology
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Immunologic / immunology
  • Receptors, Immunologic / metabolism*
  • env Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus / agonists


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • CLEC4A protein, human
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • DC-specific ICAM-3 grabbing nonintegrin
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp120
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Lewis Blood Group Antigens
  • Ligands
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Polysaccharides
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • env Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus
  • gp120 protein, Human immunodeficiency virus 1
  • gp140 envelope protein, Human immunodeficiency virus 1
  • sulfo-Lewis(a)