Carbohydrates From Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Biofilms Interact With Immune C-Type Lectins and Interfere With Their Receptor Function

Document Type


Publication Date



Bacterial biofilms represent a challenge to the healthcare system because of their resilience against antimicrobials and immune attack. Biofilms consist of bacterial aggregates embedded in an extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) composed of polysaccharides, nucleic acids and proteins. We hypothesised that carbohydrates could contribute to immune recognition of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms by engaging C-type lectins. Here we show binding of Dendritic Cell-Specific Intercellular adhesion molecule-3-Grabbing Non-integrin (DC-SIGN, CD209), mannose receptor (MR, CD206) and Dectin-2 to P. aeruginosa biofilms. We also demonstrate that DC-SIGN, unlike MR and Dectin-2, recognises planktonic P. aeruginosa cultures and this interaction depends on the presence of the common polysaccharide antigen. Within biofilms DC-SIGN, Dectin-2 and MR ligands appear as discrete clusters with dispersed DC-SIGN ligands also found among bacterial aggregates. DC-SIGN, MR and Dectin-2 bind to carbohydrates purified from P. aeruginosa biofilms, particularly the high molecular weight fraction (HMW; >132,000 Da), with Ks in the nM range. These HMW carbohydrates contain 74.9-80.9% mannose, display α-mannan segments, interfere with the endocytic activity of cell-associated DC-SIGN and MR and inhibit Dectin-2-mediated cellular activation. In addition, biofilm carbohydrates reduce the association of the DC-SIGN ligand Lewis, but not fucose, to human monocyte-derived dendritic cells (moDCs), and alter moDC morphology without affecting early cytokine production in response to lipopolysaccharide or P. aeruginosa cultures. This work identifies the presence of ligands for three important C-type lectins within P. aeruginosa biofilm structures and purified biofilm carbohydrates and highlights the potential for these receptors to impact immunity to P. aeruginosa infection.