Mannan chain length controls lipoglycans signaling via and binding to TLR2

Jerome Nigou, Thierry Vasselon, Aurélie Ray, Patricia Constant, Martine Gilleron, Gurdyal Besra, Iain Sutcliffe, Gérard Tiraby, Germain Puzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)


TLR2 is a pattern-recognition receptor that is activated by a large variety of conserved microbial components, including lipoproteins, lipoteichoic acids, and peptidoglycan. Lipoglycans are TLR2 agonists found in some genera of the phylogenetic order Actinomycetales, including Mycobacterium. They are built from a mannosyl-phosphatidyl-myo-inositol anchor attached to a (alpha 1 -> 6)-linked D-mannopyranosyl chain whose units can be substituted by D-mannopyranosyl and/or D-arabinofuranosyl units. At this time, little is known about the molecular bases underlying their ability to induce signaling via this receptor. We have recently shown that the anchor must be at least triacylated, including a diacylglyceryl moiety, whereas the contribution of the glycosidic moiety is not yet clearly defined. We show herein that lipoglycan activity is directly determined by mannan chain length. Indeed, activity increases with the number of units constituting the (alpha 1 -> 6)-mannopyranosyl backbone but is also critically dependent on the substitution type of the 2-hydroxyl of these units. We thus provide evidence for the definition of a new pattern that includes the nonlipidic moiety of the molecules, most probably as a result of the (alpha 1 -> 6)-mannopyranosyl backbone being a highly conserved structural feature among lipoglycans. Moreover, we demonstrate that lipoglycans can bind cell surface-expressed TLR2 and that their ability to induce signaling might be, at least in part, dictated by their avidity for the receptor. Finally, our data suggest that lipoglycans and lipoproteins have a common binding site. The present results are thus discussed in the light of the recently published crystal structure of a TLR1-TLR2-lipopeptide complex.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6696-6702
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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