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Kiessling paper published in Science Advances

Categories: Faculty, Research

The paper, “Lectin-Seq: A method to profile lectin-microbe interactions in native communities", was published on July 28, 2023.

Members of Professor Laura Kiessling‘s lab have been studying the role of human lectins (carbohydrate-binding proteins), many of which are found at interfaces between our bodies and microbes (i.e., the gut, the lung, the blood). It is known that human lectins influence the microbiome, but how they influence it remains a mystery. The researchers have previously shown that the lectins bind microbial glycans. Those findings led to the interest in what microbes the lectins bind . In this collaborative study, published on July 28, 2023 and supported by the MIT Center for Microbiome Informatics and Therapeutics, the researchers developed a general strategy to relate glycan binding to microbe species identity.

Lectin-Seq: a method to profile lectin-microbe interactions in native communities
Robert L. McPherson, Christine R. Isabella, Rebecca L. Walker, Dallis Sergio, Sunhee Bae, Tony Gaca, Smrithi Raman, Le Thanh Tu Nguyen, Darryl A. Wesener, Melanie Halim, Michael G. Wuo, Amanda Dugan, Robert Kerby, Soumi Ghosh, Federico E. Rey, Catherine Dhennezel, Gleb Pishchany, Valerie Lensch, Hera Vlamakis, Eric J. Alm, Ramnik J. Xavier, and Laura L. Kiessling
Science Advances, July 28, 2023
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.add8766

Abstract: Soluble human lectins are critical components of innate immunity. Genetic models suggest lectins influence host-resident microbiota, but their specificity for commensal and mutualist species is understudied. Elucidating lectins’ roles in regulating microbiota requires an understanding of which microbial species they bind within native communities. To profile human lectin recognition, members of the Kiessling Group developed Lectin-Seq. The researchers apply Lectin-Seq to human fecal microbiota using the soluble mannose-binding lectin (MBL) and intelectin-1 (hItln1). Although each lectin binds a substrantial percentage of the samples (10-20%), the microbial interactomes of MBL and hItln1 differ markedly in composition and diversity. MBL binding is highly selective for a small subset of species commonly associated with humans. In contrast, hItln1’s interaction profile encompasses a broad range of lower-abundance species. This data uncovers stark differences in the commensal recognition properties of human lectins.

Read the full text at Science Advances.

The Kiessling Group uses chemical biology to elucidate the biological roles of carbohydrates, with a focus on learning new mechanistic concepts.