Comparative characterization of two galectins excreted-secreted from intestine-dwelling parasitic versus free-living females of the soil-transmitted nematode Strongyloides
Helminths are complex pathogens that ensure their long-term survival by influencing the immune responses of their host. Excretory/secretory products (ESP) can exert immunoregulatory effects which foster parasite survival. Galectins represent a widespread group of v-galactoside-binding proteins which are involved in a multitude of biological processes operative in parasite-host interaction. We had earlier identified seven galectins in Strongyloides ratti, four of them detected in the ESP of distinct developmental stages of the parasite. In the present report, we focused on the characterization of two of them, Sr-galectin-1 (Sr-Gal-1) and Sr-galectin-3 (Sr-Gal-3). While Sr-Gal-3 expression was strongest in parasitic females, Sr-Gal-1 was predominantly expressed in free-living females. Both proteins were cloned and recombinantly expressed in an E. coli expression system. Their glycan-binding activity was verified by haemagglutination and glycan array analysis. Furthermore, primary immunological activities of the Sr-galectins were initially investigated by the application of an in vitro mucosal 3D-culture model, comprising of mucosa-associated epithelial and dendritic cells. The Sr-galectins stimulated preferentially the release of the type 2 cytokines thymic stromal lymphopoietin and IL-22, a first indication for immunoregulatory activity. In addition, the Sr-galectins dose-dependently fostered cell migration. Our results confirm the importance of these carbohydrate-binding proteins in host-parasite-interaction by indicating possible interaction with the host mucosa-associated cells.