C-type Lectin CD209L/L-SIGN and CD209/DC-SIGN: Cell Adhesion Molecules Turned to Pathogen Recognition Receptors

Biology (Basel). 2020 Dec 22;10(1):1. doi: 10.3390/biology10010001.


C-type lectin CD209/DC-SIGN and CD209L/L-SIGN proteins are distinct cell adhesion and pathogen recognition receptors that mediate cellular interactions and recognize a wide range of pathogens, including viruses such as SARS, SARS-CoV-2, bacteria, fungi and parasites. Pathogens exploit CD209 family proteins to promote infection and evade the immune recognition system. CD209L and CD209 are widely expressed in SARS-CoV-2 target organs and can contribute to infection and pathogenesis. CD209 family receptors are highly susceptible to alternative splicing and genomic polymorphism, which may influence virus tropism and transmission in vivo. The carbohydrate recognition domain (CRD) and the neck/repeat region represent the key features of CD209 family proteins that are also central to facilitating cellular ligand interactions and pathogen recognition. While the neck/repeat region is involved in oligomeric dimerization, the CRD recognizes the mannose-containing structures present on specific glycoproteins such as those found on the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Considering the role of CD209L and related proteins in diverse pathogen recognition, this review article discusses the recent advances in the cellular and biochemical characterization of CD209 and CD209L and their roles in viral uptake, which has important implications in understanding the host-pathogen interaction, the viral pathobiology and driving vaccine development of SARS-CoV-2.

Keywords: C-type lectin; C-type lectin domain family 4 member M; CD209; CD209L; CLEC4G; CLEC4M; COVID-19; DC-SIGN; L-SIGN; LSECtin; SARS-CoV-2; cell adhesion molecule.

Publication types

  • Review