Galectin-3 enhances neutrophil motility and extravasation into the airways during Aspergillus fumigatus infection

Brendan D Snarr, Guillaume St-Pierre, Benjamin Ralph, Mélanie Lehoux, Yukiko Sato, Ann Rancourt, Takahiro Takazono, Shane R Baistrocchi, Rachel Corsini, Matthew P Cheng, Michele Sugrue, Lindsey R Baden, Koichi Izumikawa, Hiroshi Mukae, John R Wingard, Irah L King, Maziar Divangahi, Masahiko S Satoh, Bryan G Yipp, Sachiko Sato, Donald C Sheppard
PLoS Pathogens 2020 August 4, 16 (8): e1008741
Aspergillus fumigatus is an opportunistic mold that infects patients who are immunocompromised or have chronic lung disease, causing significant morbidity and mortality in these populations. While the factors governing the host response to A. fumigatus remain poorly defined, neutrophil recruitment to the site of infection is critical to clear the fungus. Galectin-3 is a mammalian β-galactose-binding lectin with both antimicrobial and immunomodulatory activities, however the role of galectin-3 in the defense against molds has not been studied. Here we show that galectin-3 expression is markedly up-regulated in mice and humans with pulmonary aspergillosis. Galectin-3 deficient mice displayed increased fungal burden and higher mortality during pulmonary infection. In contrast to previous reports with pathogenic yeast, galectin-3 exhibited no antifungal activity against A. fumigatus in vitro. Galectin-3 deficient mice exhibited fewer neutrophils in their airways during infection, despite normal numbers of total lung neutrophils. Intravital imaging studies confirmed that galectin-3 was required for normal neutrophil migration to the airspaces during fungal infection. Adoptive transfer experiments demonstrated that stromal rather than neutrophil-intrinsic galectin-3 was necessary for normal neutrophil entry into the airspaces. Live cell imaging studies revealed that extracellular galectin-3 directly increases neutrophil motility. Taken together, these data demonstrate that extracellular galectin-3 facilitates recruitment of neutrophils to the site of A. fumigatus infection, and reveals a novel role for galectin-3 in host defense against fungal infections.

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