Dr. Liu, Fu-Tong 's publons link picture

Dr. Liu, Fu-Tong

Corresponding Research Fellow
Academician, Academia Sinica
  • 02-2652-3056 (Office)

  • Galectins
  • Allergic Inflammation
  • Immune-mediated dermatoses

Education and Positions:
    • Ph.D. University of Chicago
    • M.D. University of Miami, School of Medicine

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Galectin-3 promotes noncanonical inflammasome activation through intracellular binding to lipopolysaccharide glycans

Dr. Liu, Fu-Tong
PNAS, Jul 27, 2021



Cytosolic lipopolysaccharides (LPSs) bind directly to caspase-4/5/11 through their lipid A moiety, inducing inflammatory caspase oligomerization and activation, which is identified as the noncanonical inflammasome pathway. Galectins, β-galactoside–binding proteins, bind to various gram-negative bacterial LPS, which display β-galactoside–containing polysaccharide chains. Galectins are mainly present intracellularly, but their interactions with cytosolic microbial glycans have not been investigated. We report that in cell-free systems, galectin-3 augments the LPS-induced assembly of caspase-4/11 oligomers, leading to increased caspase-4/11 activation. Its carboxyl-terminal carbohydrate-recognition domain is essential for this effect, and its N-terminal domain, which contributes to the self-association property of the protein, is also critical, suggesting that this promoting effect is dependent on the functional multivalency of galectin-3. Moreover, galectin-3 enhances intracellular LPS-induced caspase-4/11 oligomerization and activation, as well as gasdermin D cleavage in human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293T cells, and it additionally promotes interleukin-1β production and pyroptotic death in macrophages. Galectin-3 also promotes caspase-11 activation and gasdermin D cleavage in macrophages treated with outer membrane vesicles, which are known to be taken up by cells and release LPSs into the cytosol. Coimmunoprecipitation confirmed that galectin-3 associates with caspase-11 after intracellular delivery of LPSs. Immunofluorescence staining revealed colocalization of LPSs, galectin-3, and caspase-11 independent of host N-glycans. Thus, we conclude that galectin-3 amplifies caspase-4/11 oligomerization and activation through LPS glycan binding, resulting in more intense pyroptosis—a critical mechanism of host resistance against bacterial infection that may provide opportunities for new therapeutic interventions.