Targeting the C-type Lectins-Mediated Host-Pathogen Interactions with Dextran

Sergey Pustylnikov1, Divya Sagar2, Pooja Jain2, Zafar K Khan2

1Group of Molecular Biology Research, Novosibirsk Tuberculosis Research Institute, Novosibirsk, Russia. Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
2Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


Dextran, the α-1,6-linked glucose polymer widely used in biology and medicine, promises new applications. Linear dextran applied as a blood plasma substitute demonstrates a high rate of biocompatibility. Dextran is present in foods, drugs, and vaccines and in most cases is applied as a biologically inert substance. In this review we analyze dextran's cellular uptake principles, receptor specificity and, therefore, its ability to interfere with pathogen–lectin interactions: a promising basis for new antimicrobial strategies. Dextran-binding receptors in humans include the DC-SIGN (dendritic cell–specific intercellular adhesion molecule 3-grabbing nonintegrin) family receptors: DC-SIGN (CD209) and L-SIGN (the liver and lymphatic endothelium homologue of DC-SIGN), the mannose receptor (CD206), and langerin. These receptors take part in the uptake of pathogens by dendritic cells and macrophages and may also participate in the modulation of immune responses, mostly shown to be beneficial for pathogens per se rather than host(s). It is logical to predict that owing to receptor-specific interactions, dextran or its derivatives can interfere with these immune responses and improve infection outcome. Recent data support this hypothesis. We consider dextran a promising molecule for the development of lectin–glycan interaction-blocking molecules (such as DC-SIGN inhibitors) that could be applied in the treatment of diseases including tuberculosis, influenza, hepatitis B and C, human immunodeficiency virus infection and AIDS, etc. Dextran derivatives indeed change the pathology of infections dependent on DC-SIGN and mannose receptors. Complete knowledge of specific dextran–lectin interactions may also be important for development of future dextran applications in biological research and medicine.


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J Pharm Pharm Sci, 17 (3): 371-392, 2014

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