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The lectin Orysata induces phosphatase-mediated and carbohydrate-independent aggregation of insect cells

  • Chen, Pengyu
  • De Schutter, Kristof
  • Pauwels, Jarne
  • Gevaert, Kris
  • Van Damme, Els
  • Smagghe, Guy
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2021
DOI: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2021.104241
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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Lectins, or carbohydrate-binding proteins, can cause agglutination of particular cells. This process is mediated by the interaction of the carbohydrate-binding domain with sugar structures on the cell surface, and this binding can be inhibited by pre-incubation of the lectin with its specific sugars. However, when incubated with insect cells, Orysata, a mannose-binding lectin from rice, caused aggregation of the cells, independent from carbohydrate binding activity. This phenomenon was observed for multiple insect cell lines, confirming the robustness of this phenotype. While the carbohydrate-dependent agglutination of red blood cells happens within minutes, the carbohydrate-independent aggregation of insect cells requires longer incubation times. Further analysis with the galactose-binding lectins SSA and Jacalin, validated the robustness of this lectin-induced, carbohydrate-independent aggregation in different insect cell lines. Since proteomic analysis revealed no changes in the proteome after treatment with the lectins, this cell aggregation is likely caused by the (in) activation or re-organization of the existing surface proteins. The use of inhibitors of phosphorylation and dephosphorylation, staurosporine (STS) and a phosphatase inhibitor (PPI) cocktail, pointed to dephosphorylation as a key mechanism in the lectin-induced, carbohydrate-independent aggregation of insect cells. Similar to contact inhibition, cell proliferation in cell aggregates was decreased. Analysis of the marker for cell proliferation, cyclin E, confirmed that aggregated cells enter a quiescent state. The current data offer a new perspective on the mechanism by which lectins execute their activities, specifically through lectin-induced phosphatase-mediated cell aggregation and proliferation inhibition, independent from their carbohydrate-binding activity.

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