Identification and characterization of DC-SIGN-binding glycoproteins in allergenic foods

Allergy. 2016 Aug;71(8):1145-55. doi: 10.1111/all.12873. Epub 2016 May 6.


Background: DC-SIGN (dendritic cell-specific intercellular adhesion molecule-3-grabbing nonintegrin) is a C-type lectin receptor expressed on macrophages and dendritic cells. DC-SIGN has high affinity for fucosylated glycans in several plant glycoproteins and pathogens. DC-SIGN is thought to be crucial for the development of allergic sensitization. However, the precise role of DC-SIGN in food allergy pathogenesis is not yet understood.

Objective: We sought to characterize DC-SIGN-binding glycoproteins in a panel of allergenic and non-allergenic foods.

Methods: Fluorescent-labeled peanut and soy extracts were used to test protein binding to human monocyte-derived dendritic cells (DCs) by flow cytometry. DC-SIGN-blocking assays were performed by incubating DCs with food extracts followed by staining with anti-DC-SIGN antibody. Using a DC-SIGN-Fc chimera, food extracts were tested for binding by ELISA and autoradiography. IgE immunoblotting was performed with pooled sera from food-allergic subjects. DC activation and maturation were assessed by flow cytometry.

Results and conclusions: We demonstrate that peanut agglutinin, a minor peanut allergen, is a novel ligand for DC-SIGN. Peanut agglutinin activates DCs to induce the expression of costimulatory molecules in vitro. We present a comprehensive report on the characterization of DC-SIGN-binding proteins in common allergenic foods such as peanut, soy, tree nuts, egg, and milk. Foods that rarely induce allergy, such as pine nuts, chickpea, and corn, showed no binding to DC-SIGN. Several DC-SIGN-binding proteins show reactivity in serum IgE immunoblots. We have also identified novel non-IgE-binding proteins that interact with DC-SIGN; these proteins may be important for regulating immune responses to these foods.

Keywords: DC-SIGN; food allergens; peanut; peanut agglutinin; soybean.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Allergens / metabolism
  • Biomarkers
  • Carrier Proteins / immunology*
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules* / metabolism
  • Cross Reactions / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Food / adverse effects*
  • Food Analysis*
  • Food Hypersensitivity
  • Glycoproteins / immunology*
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Lectins, C-Type* / metabolism
  • Ligands
  • Plant Proteins / immunology
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Receptors, Cell Surface* / metabolism


  • Allergens
  • Biomarkers
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • DC-specific ICAM-3 grabbing nonintegrin
  • Glycoproteins
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Ligands
  • Plant Proteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Immunoglobulin E