DC-SIGN mediates binding of dendritic cells to authentic pseudo-LewisY glycolipids of Schistosoma mansoni cercariae, the first parasite-specific ligand of DC-SIGN

Sandra Meyer, Ellis van Liempt, Anne Imberty, Yvette van Kooyk, Hildegard Geyer, Rudolf Geyer, Irma van Die

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87 Citations (Scopus)


During schistosomiasis, parasite-derived glycoconjugates play a key role in manipulation of the host immune response, associated with persistence of the parasite. Among the candidate host receptors that are triggered by glycoconjugates are C-type lectins (CLRs) on dendritic cells (DCs), which in concerted action with Toll-like receptors determine the balance in DCs between induction of immunity versus tolerance. Here we report that the CLR DC-SIGN mediates adhesion of DCs to authentic glycolipids derived from Schistosoma mansoni cercariae and their excretory/secretory products. Structural characterization of the glycolipids, in combination with solid phase and cellular binding studies revealed that DC-SIGN binds to the carbohydrate moieties of both glycosphingolipid species with Galbeta1-4(Fucalpha1-3)GlcNAc (Lewis(X)) and Fucalpha1-3Galbeta1-4(Fucalpha1-3)GlcNAc (pseudo-Lewis(Y)) determinants. Importantly, these data indicate that surveying DCs in the skin may encounter schistosome-derived glycolipids immediately after infection. Recent analysis of crystals of the carbohydrate binding domain of DC-SIGN bound to Lewis(X) provided insight into the ability of DC-SIGN to bind fucosylated ligands. Using molecular modeling we showed that the observed binding of the schistosome-specific pseudo-Lewis(Y) to DC-SIGN is not directly compatible with the model described. To fit pseudo-Lewis(Y) into the model, the orientation of the side chain of Phe(313) in the secondary binding site of DC-SIGN was slightly changed, which results in a perfect stacking of Phe(313) with the hydrophobic side of the galactose-linked fucose of pseudo-Lewis(Y). We propose that pathogens such as S. mansoni may use the observed flexibility in the secondary binding site of DC-SIGN to target DCs, which may contribute to immune escape.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37349-37359
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number45
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2005


  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Carbohydrate Sequence
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules/chemistry
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dendritic Cells/immunology
  • Glycolipids/chemistry
  • Humans
  • Lectins, C-Type/chemistry
  • Lewis Blood-Group System/chemistry
  • Protein Binding
  • Receptors, Cell Surface/chemistry
  • Schistosoma mansoni/immunology
  • Species Specificity
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization
  • Substrate Specificity

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