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Calreticulin and Galectin-3 Opsonise Bacteria for Phagocytosis by Microglia.

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Cockram, Tom O J 
Puigdellívol, Mar 
Brown, Guy C 


Opsonins are soluble, extracellular proteins, released by activated immune cells, and when bound to a target cell, can induce phagocytes to phagocytose the target cell. There are three known classes of opsonin: antibodies, complement factors and secreted pattern recognition receptors, but these have limited access to the brain. We identify here two novel opsonins of bacteria, calreticulin, and galectin-3 (both lectins that can bind lipopolysaccharide), which were released by microglia (brain-resident macrophages) when activated by bacterial lipopolysaccharide. Calreticulin and galectin-3 both bound to Escherichia coli, and when bound increased phagocytosis of these bacteria by microglia. Furthermore, lipopolysaccharide-induced microglial phagocytosis of E. coli bacteria was partially inhibited by: sugars, an anti-calreticulin antibody, a blocker of the calreticulin phagocytic receptor LRP1, a blocker of the galectin-3 phagocytic receptor MerTK, or simply removing factors released from the microglia, indicating this phagocytosis is dependent on extracellular calreticulin and galectin-3. Thus, calreticulin and galectin-3 are opsonins, released by activated microglia to promote clearance of bacteria. This innate immune response of microglia may help clear bacterial infections of the brain.



Bacteria, Microglia, calreticulin, galectin-3, Opsonin, Mertk, Lrp1

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