The intestinal epithelium acts as the first barrier against the bacterial invasion of host tissues. Galectins are a major type of glycan-binding protein (GBP) that differ from other GBPs by being located mainly intracellularly. Galectin-4 is unique in that it is specifically expressed in the gastrointestinal tract. Here, we report that cytosolic galectin-4 enchains daughter bacteria and restricts their motility intracellularly and potentiates inflammasome activation in infected intestinal epithelial cells. The results of our study demonstrate that cytosolic lectins can modulate the host response through interacting intracellularly with glycans on live microbes. The results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America(PNAS) in January, 2023.

The research team is led by Dr. Fu-Tong Liu (Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Academia Sinica), and the work is completed by Dr. Chi-Shan Li, Dr. Tzu-Han Lo, Mr. Ting-Jui Tu, Mr. Di-Yen Chueh, Dr. Peilin Chen (Research Center for Applied Sciences, Academia Sinica), Cheng-I Yao, and Dr. Chun-Hung Lin (Institute of Biological Chemistry, Academia Sinica). The study is funded by Academia Sinica and the National Science and Technology Council.

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Cytosolic galectin-4 enchains bacteria, restricts their motility, and promotes inflammasome activation in intestinal epithelial cells