Recombinant chimeric lectins consisting of mannose-binding lectin and L-ficolin are potent inhibitors of influenza A virus compared with mannose-binding lectin.
ABSTRACT MBL structurally contains a type II-like collagenous domain and a carbohydrate recognition domain (CRD). We have recently generated three novel recombinant chimeric lectins (RCL), in which varying length of collagenous domain of mannose-binding lectin (MBL) is replaced with that of L-ficolin (L-FCN). CRD of MBL is used for target recognition because it has a broad spectrum in pathogen recognition compared with L-FCN. Results of our study demonstrate that these RCLs are potent inhibitors of influenza A virus (IAV). RCLs, against IAV, show dose-dependent activation of the lectin complement pathway, which is significantly higher than that of recombinant human MBL (rMBL). This activity is observed even without MBL-associated serine proteases (MASPs, provided by MBL deficient mouse sera), which have been thought to mediate complement activation. These observations suggest that RCLs are more efficient in associating with MASP-2, which predominantly mediates the activity. Yet, additional serum further increases the activity while RCL-mediated coagulation-like enzyme activities are diminished compared with rMBL, suggesting reduced association with MASP-1, which has been shown to mediate coagulation-like activity. These data suggest that RCLs may interfere less with host coagulation, which is advantageous to be a therapeutic drug. Importantly, these RCLs have surpassed rMBL for anti-viral activities, such as viral aggregation, reduction of viral hemagglutination (HA) and inhibition of virus-mediated HA and neuraminidase (NA) activities. These results are encouraging that novel RCLs could be used as anti-IAV agents with less side effect and that RCLs would be suitable candidates in developing a new anti-IAV therapy.
[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Influenza viruses are causative agents of an acute febrile respiratory disease called influenza (commonly known as "flu") and belong to the Orthomyxoviridae family. These viruses possess segmented, negative stranded RNA genomes (vRNA) and are enveloped, usually spherical and bud from the plasma membrane (more specifically, the apical plasma membrane of polarized epithelial cells). Complete virus particles, therefore, are not found inside infected cells. Virus particles consist of three major subviral components, namely the viral envelope, matrix protein (M1), and core (viral ribonucleocapsid [vRNP]). The viral envelope surrounding the vRNP consists of a lipid bilayer containing spikes composed of viral glycoproteins (HA, NA, and M2) on the outer side and M1 on the inner side. Viral lipids, derived from the host plasma membrane, are selectively enriched in cholesterol and glycosphingolipids. M1 forms the bridge between the viral envelope and the core. The viral core consists of helical vRNP containing vRNA (minus strand) and NP along with minor amounts of NEP and polymerase complex (PA, PB1, and PB2). For viral morphogenesis to occur, all three viral components, namely the viral envelope (containing lipids and transmembrane proteins), M1, and the vRNP must be brought to the assembly site, i.e. the apical plasma membrane in polarized epithelial cells. Finally, buds must be formed at the assembly site and virus particles released with the closure of buds. Transmembrane viral proteins are transported to the assembly site on the plasma membrane via the exocytic pathway. Both HA and NA possess apical sorting signals and use lipid rafts for cell surface transport and apical sorting. These lipid rafts are enriched in cholesterol, glycosphingolipids and are relatively resistant to neutral detergent extraction at low temperature. M1 is synthesized on free cytosolic polyribosomes. vRNPs are made inside the host nucleus and are exported into the cytoplasm through the nuclear pore with the help of M1 and NEP. How M1 and vRNPs are directed to the assembly site on the plasma membrane remains unclear. The likely possibilities are that they use a piggy-back mechanism on viral glycoproteins or cytoskeletal elements. Alternatively, they may possess apical determinants or diffuse to the assembly site, or a combination of these pathways. Interactions of M1 with M1, M1 with vRNP, and M1 with HA and NA facilitate concentration of viral components and exclusion of host proteins from the budding site. M1 interacts with the cytoplasmic tail (CT) and transmembrane domain (TMD) of glycoproteins, and thereby functions as a bridge between the viral envelope and vRNP. Lipid rafts function as microdomains for concentrating viral glycoproteins and may serve as a platform for virus budding. Virus bud formation requires membrane bending at the budding site. A combination of factors including concentration of and interaction among viral components, increased viscosity and asymmetry of the lipid bilayer of the lipid raft as well as pulling and pushing forces of viral and host components are likely to cause outward curvature of the plasma membrane at the assembly site leading to bud formation. Eventually, virus release requires completion of the bud due to fusion of the apposing membranes, leading to the closure of the bud, separation of the virus particle from the host plasma membrane and release of the virus particle into the extracellular environment. Among the viral components, M1 contains an L domain motif and plays a critical role in budding. Bud completion requires not only viral components but also host components. However, how host components facilitate bud completion remains unclear. In addition to bud completion, influenza virus requires NA to release virus particles from sialic acid residues on the cell surface and spread from cell to cell. Elucidation of both viral and host factors involved in viral morphogenesis and budding may lead to the development of drugs interfering with the steps of viral morphogenesis and in disease progression.Virus Research 01/2005; 106(2):147-65. · 2.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Influenza A and B are important causes of respiratory illness in all age groups. Influenza causes seasonal outbreaks globally, and (rarely) pandemics. In the United States, seasonal influenza epidemics account for > 200,000 hospitalizations and > 30,000 deaths annually. More than 90% of deaths are in the elderly. The toll is considerably higher during pandemics. Clinical features of influenza infection overlap with other respiratory pathogens (particularly viruses). The diagnosis is often delayed due to low suspicion and the limited use of specific diagnostic tests. Rapid diagnostic tests are widely available and allow detection of influenza antigen in respiratory secretions within 1 hour; however, sensitivity ranges from 40 to 80%. Currently, four drugs are available to treat or prevent influenza. These include the adamantanes (i.e., amantadine and rimantadine) and the neuraminidase inhibitors (i.e., oseltamivir and zanamivir). Adamantanes are active against influenza A but not influenza B. However, recent emergence of adamantane resistance has rendered these agents ineffective. Hence, adamantanes are not currently recommended in the United States. The neuraminidase inhibitors (NAIs) are effective in treating influenza A or B, and for prophylaxis in selected adults and children. Resistance to NAIs is rare, but influenza strains resistant to oseltamivir have been detected. Vaccines are the cornerstone of influenza control. Currently, trivalent inactivated vaccine (TIV) and live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) are available. These agents reduce mortality and morbidity in high-risk patients (i.e., the elderly or patients with comorbidities), and expanding the use of vaccines to healthy children and adults reduces the incidence of influenza, pneumonia, and hospitalizations due to respiratory illnesses in the community.Seminars in Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 04/2007; 28(2):144-58. · 2.43 Impact Factor
[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Infants and young children have the highest influenza infection and hospitalisation rates in paediatrics. The immaturity of the infant's immune system and the absence of prior immunity and exposure to the virus are potential contributors. Although most children that suffer from influenza infection are otherwise healthy, an underlying chronic medical condition further increases the risk for complications. Annual immunisation with influenza vaccine is recommended for any child 6 months of age and older in whom prevention of disease is desirable, particularly for those with underlying medical conditions. Offering influenza vaccine to pregnant women who will deliver during the influenza season can potentially reduce the frequency and severity of influenza disease in infants less than 6 months of age. Family members, including other children and all other close contacts, should also receive influenza vaccine to reduce transmission to children at risk and infants in the first 6 months of life.Paediatric respiratory reviews 07/2003; 4(2):99-104. · 2.20 Impact Factor
Recombinant chimeric lectins consisting of mannose-binding lectin and L-ficolin
are potent inhibitors of influenza A virus compared with mannose-binding lectin
Wei-Chuan Changa,1, Kevan L. Hartshornb,1, Mitchell R. Whiteb, Patience Moyoa, Ian C. Michelowa,
Henry Kozielc, Bernard T. Kinanea, Emmett V. Schmidtd, Teizo Fujitae, Kazue Takahashia,*
aProgram of Developmental Immunology, Department of Pediatrics, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, United States
bDepartment of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118, United States
dCancer Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, United States
eDepartment of Immunology, Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima 960-1295, Japan
IAV is an RNA virus whose surface is enveloped with
glycoproteins containing neuraminidase (NA) and hemagglutinin
(HA), which have glycosylation sites . IAV infection is a common
infection that could result in fatal complications, even in
individuals who are appeared to be healthy [2,3]. Mortality and
hospitalization are estimated to exceed annually 30,000 and
200,000, respectively in the United States alone . Prevention is
currently relied upon immunization, however vaccines are less
effective in elderly and are not approved by the FDA for infants
younger than 6 months of age [3,4]. Resistance to antiviral agents
has developed in seasonal and pandemic IAV strains [2,5]. Thus,
there is a need for new effective anti-IAV therapeutics.
The first line of host defense is the innate immunity, which
through pattern recognition receptors and soluble molecules that
include lectins . One such lectin is MBL, which is primarily
synthesized in the liver and circulates in the blood [7–9]. MBL
belongs to the collectin family that is structurally characterized by
consisting of a type II-like collagenous domain at N-terminus,
followed by a neck region and a carbohydrate recognition domain
(CRD) at C-terminus . The collectin family includes lung
surfactant protein (SP)-A and SP-D . These surfactant proteins
have anti-viral functions [12–17] and mice lacking SP-A or SP-D
have increased susceptibility to AIV infection [14,18].
In early 1990, MBL was identified as a b-inhibitor, which had
been discovered as an IAV inactivating serum factor in the 1940s
Biochemical Pharmacology 81 (2011) 388–395
A R T I C L EI N F O
Received 6 August 2010
Accepted 19 October 2010
Influenza A virus
A B S T R A C T
MBL structurally contains a type II-like collagenous domain and a carbohydrate recognition domain
(CRD). We have recently generated three novel recombinant chimeric lectins (RCL), in which varying
length of collagenous domain of mannose-binding lectin (MBL) is replaced with that of L-ficolin (L-FCN).
CRD of MBL is used for target recognition because it has a broad spectrum in pathogen recognition
compared with L-FCN. Results of our study demonstrate that these RCLs are potent inhibitors of
influenza A virus (IAV). RCLs, against IAV, show dose-dependent activation of the lectin complement
pathway, which is significantly higher than that of recombinant human MBL (rMBL). This activity is
observedeven withoutMBL-associated serineproteases (MASPs,providedbyMBLdeficientmouse sera),
which have been thought to mediate complement activation. These observations suggest that RCLs are
more efficient in associating with MASP-2, which predominantly mediates the activity. Yet, additional
serum further increases the activity while RCL-mediated coagulation-like enzyme activities are
diminished compared with rMBL, suggesting reduced association with MASP-1, which has been shown
to mediate coagulation-like activity. These data suggest that RCLs may interfere less with host
coagulation, which is advantageous to be a therapeutic drug. Importantly, these RCLs have surpassed
rMBL for anti-viral activities, such as viral aggregation, reduction of viral hemagglutination (HA) and
inhibition of virus-mediated HA and neuraminidase (NA) activities. These results are encouraging that
novel RCLs could be used as anti-IAV agents with less side effect and that RCLs would be suitable
candidates in developing a new anti-IAV therapy.
? 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
* Corresponding author at: 55 Fruit Street, GRJ1402, Boston, MA 02114, United
States. Tel.: +1 617 726 1394; fax: +1 617 724 3248.
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org (K. Takahashi).
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/biochempharm
0006-2952/$ – see front matter ? 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
. Since then, many studies have described MBL’s anti-IAV
functions, including inhibition of viral hemagglutination, inhibi-
tion of HA and NA and viral neutralization [20–23]. MBL activates
complement via the lectin complement pathway, which is a key
biologic function along with other complement pathways, such as
the classical and the alternative complement pathway. The
classical complement pathway is mediated by C1rs proteases,
which are replaced by MASP-1, MASP-2 and/or MASP-3, in the
lectin complement pathway . Both pathways cleave C4 and C2
to generate the C3 convertase, C4bC2a [25,26].
MBL–MASP complex also initiates coagulation via thrombin-
like activity [27,28]. Coagulation is a primitive yet effective host
defense mechanism. For example, tachylectins in horseshoe crab
hemolymph provide immune protection by clotting lipopolysac-
charide and b-glucan, pattern recognition molecules of pathogens
(PAMPs of Gram negative bacteria and fungus, respectively) .
The collectin family also includes L-FCN and H-FCN, which
are also circulating serum pattern recognition molecules of
innate immune system . Like MBL, both FCNs contain the
collagenous domain while CRD is replaced with fibrinogen-like
domain, which preferentially recognizes acetylated molecules
and sialic acid [31,32]. In contrast, MBL’s target recognition is
broad, including mannose, which is widely expressed on many
pathogens . It has been shown that other chimeric lectins
consisting of MBL-CRD and the collagenous domain of SP-D gain
anti-IAV activities, such as viral aggregation and inhibition of
HA, NA and viral infectivity [22,34].
We have previously generated three RCLs consisting of L-FCN
and MBL, in which various lengths of the collagenous domain were
replaced with that of L-FCN . Previous characterization study
has demonstrated that these RCLs are either comparable to or
surpassed rMBL for several biologic activities, including their
binding to Nipah, Hendra and Ebola viruses . Here, we further
characterized biologic activities of these recombinant lectins
against IAV using in vitro system and will discuss our findings.
2. Materials and methods
2.1. Recombinant chimeric lectins
Chimeric lectins were produced as previously described . In
this study, these lectins are named RCL1, RCL2 and RCL3,
corresponding to L-FCN/MBL126,
MBL64, respectively in the previous publication. All RCLs have
or 64 amino acids of L-FCN’s collagenous domain, resulting in total
amino acid length of 251, 255 or 254 for RCL1, RCL2 or RCL3,
respectively. Thus, overall amino acid length is similar while RCL1
has the longest L-FCN collagenous domain followed by RCL2 and
then RCL3. The junction of two proteins in RCL2 is located at the
middle of a putative MASP-binding domain.
2.2. Virus preparations
IAV (A/Phillipines/82(H3N2)) was prepared as previously
described . Briefly, IAV was grown in the chorioallantoic fluid
of chicken eggs and purified on a discontinuous sucrose gradient
(Sigma–Aldrich, St. Louis, MO). Virus stocks were dialyzed against
PBS (Sigma–Aldrich, St. Louis, MO) and aliquots were stored at
?80 8C. HA titers were determined by titration with human type O,
Rh?red blood cells (RBCs) in PBS.
2.3. MBL binding assay
This assay was performed using previously described methods
with a minor modification . IAV concentration was arbitrary
invitrostudies based ondoseresponseexperiments. Briefly, 96well
plates were coated with mannan (Sigma–Aldrich, St. Louis, MO) or
IAV and then blocked. Following wash, the wells were incubated
with indicated concentrations of recombinant lectins. After wash,
conjugated anti-mouse Ab (Promega, Madison, WI) and pNTP
substrate (Sigma–Aldrich, St. Louis, MO). Reaction was read at
415 nm using SpectraMax M5 (Molecular Devices, Sunnyvale, CA)
and expressed as OD 415 nm reading. Assays were performed in
triplicates and were repeated at least twice.
2.4. Mouse sera
MBL null mice were previously generated and fully backcrossed
onto C57Black/6J [36,38]. Sera were collected and stored at ?80 8C
prior to the study. All animal experiments were performed under a
protocol approved by the Subcommittee on Research Animal Care
at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA.
2.5. Assays of the lectin complement activity
The lectin pathway assay was performed with a minor
modification of previously described method . Briefly, 96 well
plates were coated with mannan or IAV as above. After wash and
block, the wells were incubated with various concentrations of
lectins with orwithout1% MBLnull sera (MASP source) diluted ina
binding buffer, 10 mM Tris, pH 7.8, 10 mM CaCl2, 1 M NaCl (all
chemicals were purchased from Sigma–Aldrich, St. Louis, MO).
After wash, the wells were incubated with human C4 and
incubated at 37 8C. After wash, the wells were incubated with
rabbit anti-hC4c Ab (Dako, Carpinteria, CA) followed by biotin-
conjugated anti-rabbit Ab, alkaline phosphatase-conjugated bio-
tin–avidin (ABC-AP system, Vector Labs, Burlingame, CA) and then
with pNTP (Sigma–Aldrich, St. Louis, MO). The plates were read at
415 nm. Binding activity was expressed as OD 415 nm reading.
Pooled human serum with known MBL concentration and C4
activity, which was arbitrarily defined as 1000 U/ml (State Serum
Institute, Denmark), was used to generate a standard curve on
mannan-coated wells. Assays were performed in triplicates and
were repeated twice.
2.6. Assay of thrombin-like and factor Xa-like activities
These activities were assayed using previously described
methods . Briefly, 384 well plates were coated with mannan
or IAV as above. After wash, the wells were incubated with various
concentrations of lectins with or without 1% MBL null mouse
serum or 1% MASP-1/3 null mouse serum (MASP source) 
diluted in the binding buffer. After wash, wells were incubated
with rhodamine 110-thrombin substrate (R22124, Invitrogen,
Carlsbad, CA) or amino-4-methylcoumarin acetate (AMC)-factor
Xa substrate (222F, American Diagnostica Inc., Stamford, CT) and
read at 500 nm excitation/520 nm emission or 360 nm excitation/
440 nm emission, respectively, using SpectraMax M5. The results
were expressed as arbitrary units (AUs). Assays were performed in
triplicates and were repeated twice.
2.7. Viral neutralizing assay
The assay was performed as previously described . Briefly,
viruses were pre-incubated with lectins and washed and then
incubated with Madin-Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK) cells. Infec-
tion was assayed by FITC-conjugated anti-IAV antibody (Ab)
(Millipore, Billerica, MA). Virus neutralizing activity as %inhibition
W.-C. Chang et al./Biochemical Pharmacology 81 (2011) 388–395
was calculated by the formula: FFC in test samples/FFC in saline
control ? 100. Data from 5 experiments were combined.
2.8. HA and HA inhibition assay
The assay was previously described . Briefly, virus was
incubated with lectins at various concentrations and assayed for HA
titer using human type O, Rh?RBCs. HA inhibition of IAV by
recombinant lectins at 2mg/ml was measured in round-bottom 96-
well plates (Serocluster U-Vinyl plates; Costar, Cambridge, MA). HA
inhibition was detected as the formation of a RBC pellet. To enable
graphical comparisons of HA inhibition, data were mathematically
converted and expressed as the numberof HAunits inhibited by the
lectins. Four experiments were combined.
2.9. NA inhibition assay
The assay was performed using Amplex Red Neuraminidase
Assay kit (A22178, Molecular Probes, CA), according to the
manufacture’s instructions. IAV (500 U/ml) was mixed with
recombinant lectins at 2 mg/ml and Amplex Red reagents in
40 ml reaction volume. Assay was performed in triplicate. Reaction
was read at 530 nm excitation/590 nm emission using SpectraMax
M5. The results were expressed as %inhibition calculated by the
formula: [(IAV ? (IAV + recombinant lectins)) ? 100]/IAV.
2.10. Viral aggregation assay
The assay was previously described . Briefly, at time 0, viral
suspensions were mixed with 800 ng/ml of lectins in PBS++in a final
volume of 1.0 ml. Under continuous stirring, the light transmission
wasmonitoredatexcitation/emission350 nmduring12 minusingan
A decline in light transmission correlates with viral aggregation.
Results are expressed as percent of control light transmission (virus
without lectins). Six experiments were combined.
2.11. Statistical analysis
All data were analyzed by ANOVA or Wilcoxon/Kruskal–Wallis
tests depending on data distribution using JMP software (SAS
institute Inc., Cary, NC). p values less than 0.05 was considered to
3.1. RCLs bind IAV as efficient as rMBL
We first confirmed RCLs’ binding ability to IAV by comparing to
mannan because all RCLs have MBL-CRD, which preferentially
recognizes mannan . Therefore, mannan was used as a positive
control throughout the investigation. All RCLs bound to mannan at
comparable efficiency as rMBL in a dose dependent manner
(Fig. 1A). Similarly, all RCLs bound to IAV in a dose dependent
manner although RCL1 and RCL3 demonstrated significantly more
efficient binding at 10 ng/ml compared with RCL2 and rMBL
(Fig.1B). Thus, all RCLs bound to mannan and IAV in a dose
response manner, demonstrating that all RCLs were biologically
functional for the target binding activity.
3.2. RCLs activate the lectin complement pathway more efficiently
On mannan, rMBL showed C4 deposition in a dose dependent
manner only when MASPs (MBL null serum) were supplied as
expected (open circles vs. closed circles in Fig. 2A). In contrast, all
RCLs even without MASPs showed significant C4 deposition
activity. C4 deposition activity by RCLs alone was significantly
(p < 0.0001) higher than that of rMBL even at 10 ng/ml (p < 0.05,
ml, C4 deposition activity of RCL2 was highest followed by RCL3
andthenRCL1(p < 0.005forbothRCL4vs.RCL3and RCL3vs.RCL1)
(Fig. 2A). Addition of MASPs significantly (p < 0.0001) increased
C4 deposition activity reaching to plateau at 10 ng/ml. All RCLs
demonstrated comparable activities and were significantly stron-
ger than rMBL at 10 ng/ml (Fig. 2A).
On IAV, C4 deposition activity of RCLs alone was also observed
while it was not detectable by rMBL alone (Fig. 2B). Similar to their
activity on mannan, all RCLs alone activated C4 even at 1 ng/ml
(p < 0.005 and 0.05 for RCL2 and RCL 3, respectively and no
significance for RCL 3) (Fig. 2B). Once again, addition of MASP
significantly (p < 0.0001) enhanced the C4 deposition activity even
at 1 ng/ml on IAV, unlike on mannan (Fig. 2A vs. B) and reached to
plateau at 10 ng/ml. At 1 ng/ml, C4 deposition activity by RCLs with
MASPs was significantly (p < 0.005) stronger than rMBL/MASP
complex (Fig. 2B).
Taken together, these results demonstrated that RCLs were
more efficient in activating the lectin pathway mediated C4
deposition on both mannan and IAV.
3.3. rMBL strongly activates coagulation enzyme-like activities
compared with all RCLs
On mannan, thrombin-like activity was observed in a dose
dependent manner by rMBL when MASP was supplemented as
expected (Fig. 3A). Unlike C4 deposition activity, no thrombin-like
activity was detected without MASP by any recombinant lectin on
both mannan and IAV (Fig.3A and B). Even when MASP was
supplied, only MBL mediated significant thrombin-like activity on
mannan (Fig. 3A). In contrast, all recombinant lectins activated
Fig. 1. Lectin binding assay to mannan (A) or IAV (B). Bound lectins on mannan (control) or influenza A virus (IAV) were detected by monoclonal anti-MBL antibody, which
detected all RCLs. Open circles, rMBL; open triangles, RCL1; open squares, RCL2; open diamonds, RCL3. Data were expressed as mean ? SD, all of which were smaller than sizes
of symbols. *p < 0.05.
W.-C. Chang et al./Biochemical Pharmacology 81 (2011) 388–395
Fig. 2.The lectin complementpathway activation activity on mannan (A)orIVA (B). Thelectin pathway activity was assayed asC4 deposition (U/ml)as described in Section2.
Open circles, rMBL; open triangles, RCL1; open squares, RCL2; open diamonds, RCL3. Closed symbols were with MBL null sera to supply MASP. C4 deposition activities (U/ml)
were expressed as mean ? SE, most of which were smaller than sizes of symbols. *p < 0.05; ***p < 0.0001.
Fig. 3. Thrombin-like activities on mannan (A) or IAV (B) and FXa-like activities on mannan (C) or IAV (D). These activities were assayed using enzyme-specific peptide
substrates, which become fluorescent upon enzymatic digestion. Open circles, rMBL; open triangles, RCL1; open squares, RCL2; open diamonds, RCL3. Closed symbols were
with MBL null sera to supply MASP. Activities (arbitrary units, AUs) were expressed as mean ? SE, most of which were smaller than sizes of symbols. *p < 0.05; ***p < 0.0001.
W.-C. Chang et al./Biochemical Pharmacology 81 (2011) 388–395
thrombin-like activity on IAV at 1 and 10mg/ml. rMBL-mediated
activity was significantly stronger than that of RCLs (Fig. 3B).
and RCL2 significantly activated FXa-like activity on mannan
compared with RCL1 and RCL3. However, RCL2 showed the activity
only at 10mg/ml while rMBL was significantly active even at 1mg/
ml (Fig. 3C). Once again, all recombinant lectins activated FXa-like
activity on IAV at as low as 0.1mg/ml when MASP was supplied.
However, MBL-mediated activity was significantly stronger than
that of RCLs (Fig. 3D).
For both thrombin-like and FXa-like activities, when MASP-1/3
null mouse serum (MASP-2/sMAP sufficient) was used as MASP
source these activities were abrogated to nearly undetectable
levels as this was expected from our previous study (Fig. 4) .
3.4. RCLs demonstrate efficient anti-IAV biologic functions
All RCLs inhibited MDCK cell infection in a dose dependent
manner. The activity was comparable to rMBL (Fig. 5). IC50s (mg/
ml ? SE) for RCL1, RCL2, RCL3, and rMBL were 1.12 ? 0.15, 0.72 ? 0.15,
1.09 ? 0.14,and0.81 ? 0.16,respectively.Thus,alllectinswereactivein
inhibiting IAV infection to MDCK epithelial cells.
In IAV aggregation activity, RCL2 exceeded all other RCLs and
rMBL (Fig. 6). IAV aggregation by RCL2 was detected as early as
50 s into incubation (Fig. 6). rMBL aggregated IAV better than both
RCL1 and RCL3 after incubation time at 500 and 700 s (p < 0.05 for
both time points, Fig. 6).
RCLs inhibited HA titers as potent as rMBL. Similar to viral
aggregation results, RCL2significantly(p < 0.001) reduced HA titer
at 5 mg/ml compared with other RCLs and rMBL (Fig. 7A). RCL2
abolished HA titer at 10 mg/ml while RCL1, RCL3 and rMBL
required 20 mg/ml to achieve the same effect (Fig. 7A).
As complementing lectins ability to reduce HA titer, HA
inhibition was assayed at 2 mg/ml for all chimeric lectins. The
results showed that all RCLs significantly inhibited HA compared
with rMBL (Fig. 7B), demonstrating that all RCLs were significantly
more efficient in inhibiting IAV-mediated HA.
Another anti-viral activity is inhibition of NA. RCL2 and RCL3
twoof whichshowedsimilarNA inhibitoryactivity(Fig. 7C).These
results suggested that RCL2 and RCL3 were significantly effective
in inactivating NA. Taken together, these results further suggest
that RCLs, in particular, RCL2 was effective in preventing IAV
infection into host cells.
In this study, we have demonstrated that novel RCLs, in
findings in Table 1. RCLs have been generated by replacing various
portions of the collagenous domain of MBL with that of L-FCN, thus
on our understanding that MBL-CRD has broader target recogni-
tion than L-FCN, which preferentially recognizes acetylated
compounds . These results support our recent findings that
these RCLs have a better binding activity against Ebola, Nipah and
Hendra viruses . Taken together, these results demonstrate
that novel RCLs have broad and potent anti-viral activities
compared with its parent rMBL.
Binding ability of all RCLs on mannan (a positive control) was in
a dose dependent manner and was comparable to that of rMBL.
Thus, RCLs maintain MBL-CRD binding activity and introduction of
the collagenous domain of L-FCN does not alter the MBL-CRD
function. Similar to on mannan, RCLs bind IAV in a dose dependent
manner at comparable levels to rMBL, confirming that MBL-CRD is
functional in binding to IAV.
Fig. 4. MASP-1/3 dependent thrombin-like (A) and FXa-like (B) activities. Assays
wereperformedasinFig. 3.Lectinswereusedat1 mg/mlandmixedwith1%ofMBL
null or MASP-1/3 null mouse sera. Data were expressed as mean ? SE, mostofwhich
were smaller than sizes of symbols. The data shown was the representative result of
Fig. 5. IAV neutralizing assay. Neutralizing activity was assayed as %inhibition of
viral infection to MDCK cells by comparing lectin-pretreatment to no lectin-
pretreatment. Open circles, rMBL; open triangles, RCL1; open squares, RCL2; open
diamonds, RCL3. Results were expressed as mean ? SE of %inhibition. *p < 0.05.
the reduction of light transmittance and expressed as % of control (saline) light
***p < 0.0001.
asmean ? SE.*p < 0.05;**p < 0.005;
W.-C. Chang et al./Biochemical Pharmacology 81 (2011) 388–395
MBL in a complex with MASPs initiates the lectin complement
pathway, one of the key functions of MBL. By replacing various
portions of collagen domain with that of L-ficolin, all RCLs without
MASP activate the lectin complement pathway, which is also
observed by rMBL but requires 10 mg/ml, 1000-fold more protein
(unpublished observation). Importantly, RCL-mediated lectin
complement pathway activation activity is augmented by MASP
supplementation, suggesting that the lectin complement pathway
activationactivitywould beefficiently augmentedinvivo.We have
previously shown that the lectin complement pathway activation
activity correlates with host protection from bacterial infection,
including S. aureus infection in vivo [36,45]. Taken together, these
observations suggest that RCLs are efficient activators of the lectin
complement pathway and could be administered with smaller
dose than rMBL. Further investigation is required to determine in
structural and functional similarity with MBL and FCNs these
surfactantproteins do not activate the lectincomplementpathway
. SP-A rather inhibits complement activation . The
chimeric protein of SP-D collagenous domain and MBL-CRD has
increased anti-viral characteristics compared with its parents ,
however complement activation activity has not been examined.
Interestingly, when Wallis and his colleagues introduced MASP
binding sequence of MBL/FCN into SP-A the chimeric SP-A became
constitutively active in the lectin complement pathway. This is not
the case for MBL/FCN chimera because their activities are dose
dependent and correlate with ligand binding. Nevertheless, superb
lectin complement pathway activities of RCLs may be explained by
the idea that altering MASP-binding region might have allowed to
increase MASP-2 binding to RCLs and also MASP-2 activity itself
because the lectin complement pathway is predominantly
mediated by MASP-2 .
Conversely, compared with rMBL, all RCLs now have reduced
thrombin-like and FXa-like coagulation enzyme activities, which
are mediated by MASP-1/3. MASP-1 has been linked to coagulation
enzyme-like activities as we also have demonstrated in this study,
confirming previous findings of our own and others [28,39]. One
can speculate that while all RCLs efficiently bind to MASP-2 their
MASP-1 binding is diminished either by competition or by
structural conformational change. Another possibility is due to
triggering of different amplification loops. It has been proposed
that the alternative pathway amplifies the classical pathway and
the lectin pathway [48–50]. There could be other such amplifica-
tion loop as it has become clear that interaction of complement
pathway and coagulation pathway is more complex. Further
detailed investigations are required to dissect out such pathways
The reduced coagulation enzyme-like activities of RCLs are
maintained on a fine balance of clotting (coagulation/thrombosis)
and bleeding, thus, tip over to one side would trigger coagulation
disorders, including disseminated intravascular coagulation .
So far, a phase 1 clinical study of rMBL did not result in adverse
effect in healthy volunteers . Taken together, our results
suggest that RCLs have low coagulation enzyme-like activities,
such as thrombin-like and FXa-like activities. This should be
advantageous in clinical use, as it would have less risk to trigger
coagulation disorder and related side effects.
MBL has been known to neutralize virus as this protein was
initially discovered as a serum factor, the b-inhibitor of IAV in
1940s and re-identified to be MBL in 1990s . Viral
neutralization is assayed by infectivity of lectin-treated virus to
MDCK cells, thus the activity indicates integrity of virus . All
RCLs neutralize IAV at similar level to rMBL, suggesting that all
RCLs are at least functionally as efficient as rMBL in vitro. Further
investigations would require assessing these activities in more
physiological way, in which primary cells would be used in the
presence of serum as well as in vivo infection studies.
Further characterization has revealed that these RCLs, in
particular, RCL2 surpasses rMBL for important aspects of anti-
Summary of RCL activities.
Activities Recombinant lectins
RCL1 RCL2RCL3 rMBL
LCP activation activity
Reduction of HA titer
Viral infectivity (in vitro)
Note: LCP, lectin complement pathway; FXa, factor X-activated; HA, hemaggluti-
nation;NA,neuraminidase.Activities werescored asfollows: +,positive;++, strong;
+++, very strong.
Fig. 7. HA titers and HA inhibition (HAI) and NA inhibition (NAI) by lectins. (A) HA
titers were inhibited by lectins. Closed circles, rMBL; closed triangles, RCL1, closed
squares, RCL2; closed diamonds, RCL3. The results were expressed as mean ? SE.(B)
HAI assay complemented lectin’s effects on HA titers in (A). Bars indicated mean ? SE.
*p < 0.05 against rMBL. (C) NAI assay examined lectin’s effect on viral NA activity. Bars
indicated mean ? SE. **p < 0.005; *p < 0.05. Both statistics were against RCL1 and
W.-C. Chang et al./Biochemical Pharmacology 81 (2011) 388–395
IAV functions. For example, aggregation of virus is an efficientanti-
viral mechanism as aggregated virus loses infectivity . In
regard to this activity, RCL2 surpassed all other lectins, including
other two RCLs. RCL2’s superb anti-viral activity is also evident in
reduction of HA titer. RCL2’s activity is further confirmed by HA
inhibition, which is an important anti-viral activity as it suggests
that RCL2 would inhibit viral attachment to the host cells ,
thereby preventing infection. Similarly, RCL2 inhibits NA, suggest-
ing that RCL inactivate NA that digests sialic acid, which is
expressed on intact host cells, and promotes infection . The
binds to NA but also inactivates its activity . The RCL2’s
superior activities may be partly attributed to significantly higher
binding affinity to mannan and GlcNAc, another favored MBL-
ligand, compared with other lectins .
In conclusion, our results demonstrate that RCLs, in particu-
lar, RCL2 are more potent anti-IAV reagents than MBL as
summarized in Table 1. We also speculate that these RCLs would
recognize infected host cells that may be expressing HA and NA.
Our studies also provide new insights into understanding how
collagenous domains would contribute to biologic functions,
such as complement activation and coagulation, which are
mediated by MASPs. Further in vivo investigation is encouraged
to examine their efficiency as a new innate immune therapeutics
against IAV infections.
Conflict of interest
All authors have no financial conflict.
We would like to thank Enzon pharmaceuticals for providing
rMBL. We also thank Dr. Gregory Stahl, Center for Experimental
Therapeutics and Reperfusion Injury, Department of Anesthesiol-
ogy, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Brigham and Women’s
Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, for providing
mouse anti-human MBL monoclonal antibody (2A9). This work
was supported by NIH grants UO1 AI074503-01 and R21
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