Symbiotic bacteria direct expression of an intestinal bactericidal lectin

Heather L. Cash, Cecilia V. Whitham, Cassie L. Behrendt, Lora V. Hooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

891 Scopus citations


The mammalian intestine harbors complex societies of beneficial bacteria that are maintained in the lumen with minimal penetration of mucosal surfaces. Microbial colonization of germ-free mice triggers epithelial expression of RegIIIγ, a secreted C-type lectin. RegIIIγ binds intestinal bacteria but lacks the complement recruitment domains present in other microbe-binding mammalian C-type lectins. We show that RegIIIγ and its human counterpart, HIP/PAP, are directly antimicrobial proteins that bind their bacterial targets via interactions with peptidoglycan carbohydrate. We propose that these proteins represent an evolutionarily primitive form of lectin-mediated innate immunity, and that they reveal intestinal strategies for maintaining symbiotic host-microbial relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1126-1130
Number of pages5
Issue number5790
StatePublished - Aug 25 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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