The Gram-positive bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae is the leading causative pathogen in community-acquired pneumonia. The ever-increasing frequency of antibiotic-resistant S. pneumoniae strains severely hampers effective treatments. Thus, a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of pneumococcal disease is needed; in particular, of the initial interactions that take place between the host and the bacterium. Recognition of pathogens by dendritic cells is one of the most crucial steps in the induction of an immune response. For efficient pathogen recognition, dendritic cells express various kinds of receptors, including the DC-specific C-type lectin DC-SIGN. Pathogens such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis and HIV target DC-SIGN to escape immunity. Here the in vitro binding of DC-SIGN with S. pneumoniae was investigated. DC-SIGN specifically interacts with S. pneumoniae serotype 3 and 14 in contrast to other serotypes such as 19F. While the data described here suggest that DC-SIGN interacts with S. pneumoniae serotype 14 through a ligand expressed by the capsular polysaccharide, the binding to S. pneumoniae serotype 3 appears to depend on an as yet unidentified ligand. Despite the binding capacity of the capsular polysaccharide of S. pneumoniae 14 to DC-SIGN, no immunomodulatory effects on the dendritic cells were observed. The immunological consequences of the serotype-specific capacity to interact with DC-SIGN should be further explored and might result in new insights in the development of new and more potent vaccines.
- Cell Adhesion
- Cell Adhesion Molecules/immunology
- Cell Differentiation
- Dendritic Cells/cytology
- Lectins, C-Type/immunology
- Receptors, Cell Surface/immunology
- Streptococcus pneumoniae/genetics