• Crystal Structures of Fungal Tectonin in Complex with O-Methylated Glycans Suggest Key Role in Innate Immune Defense.

      Sommer, Roman; Makshakova, Olga N; Wohlschlager, Therese; Hutin, Stephanie; Marsh, May; Titz, Alexander; Künzler, Markus; Varrot, Annabelle; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus 8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-03-06)
      Innate immunity is the first line of defense against pathogens and predators. To initiate a response, it relies on the detection of invaders, where lectin-carbohydrate interactions play a major role. O-Methylated glycans were previously identified as non-self epitopes and conserved targets for defense effector proteins belonging to the tectonin superfamily. Here, we present two crystal structures of Tectonin 2 from the mushroom Laccaria bicolor in complex with methylated ligands, unraveling the molecular basis for this original specificity. Furthermore, they revealed the formation of a ball-shaped tetramer with 24 binding sites distributed at its surface, resembling a small virus capsid. Based on the crystal structures, a methylation recognition motif was identified and found in the sequence of many tectonins from bacteria to human. Our results support a key role of tectonins in innate defense based on a distinctive and conserved type of lectin-glycan interaction.
    • Methylated glycans as conserved targets of animal and fungal innate defense.

      Wohlschlager, Therese; Butschi, Alex; Grassi, Paola; Sutov, Grigorij; Gauss, Robert; Hauck, Dirk; Schmieder, Stefanie S; Knobel, Martin; Titz, Alexander; Dell, Anne; Haslam, Stuart M; Hengartner, Michael O; Aebi, Markus; Künzler, Markus (2014-07-08)
      Effector proteins of innate immune systems recognize specific non-self epitopes. Tectonins are a family of β-propeller lectins conserved from bacteria to mammals that have been shown to bind bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS). We present experimental evidence that two Tectonins of fungal and animal origin have a specificity for O-methylated glycans. We show that Tectonin 2 of the mushroom Laccaria bicolor (Lb-Tec2) agglutinates Gram-negative bacteria and exerts toxicity toward the model nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, suggesting a role in fungal defense against bacteria and nematodes. Biochemical and genetic analysis of these interactions revealed that both bacterial agglutination and nematotoxicity of Lb-Tec2 depend on the recognition of methylated glycans, namely O-methylated mannose and fucose residues, as part of bacterial LPS and nematode cell-surface glycans. In addition, a C. elegans gene, termed samt-1, coding for a candidate membrane transport protein for the presumptive donor substrate of glycan methylation, S-adenosyl-methionine, from the cytoplasm to the Golgi was identified. Intriguingly, limulus lectin L6, a structurally related antibacterial protein of the Japanese horseshoe crab Tachypleus tridentatus, showed properties identical to the mushroom lectin. These results suggest that O-methylated glycans constitute a conserved target of the fungal and animal innate immune system. The broad phylogenetic distribution of O-methylated glycans increases the spectrum of potential antagonists recognized by Tectonins, rendering this conserved protein family a universal defense armor.