Mosquito C-type lectins maintain gut microbiome homeostasis

Xiaojing Pang, Xiaoping Xiao, Yang Liu, Rudian Zhang, Jianying Liu, Qiyong Liu, Penghua Wang, Gong Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


The long-term evolutionary interaction between the host immune system and symbiotic bacteria determines their cooperative rather than antagonistic relationship. It is known that commensal bacteria have evolved a number of mechanisms to manipulate the mammalian host immune system and maintain homeostasis. However, the strategies employed by the microbiome to overcome host immune responses in invertebrates still remain to be understood. Here, we report that the gut microbiome in mosquitoes utilizes C-type lectins (mosGCTLs) to evade the bactericidal capacity of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). Aedes aegypti mosGCTLs facilitate colonization by multiple bacterial strains. Furthermore, maintenance of the gut microbial flora relies on the expression of mosGCTLs in A. aegypti. Silencing the orthologues of mosGCTL in another major mosquito vector (Culex pipiens pallens) also impairs the survival of gut commensal bacteria. The gut microbiome stimulates the expression of mosGCTLs, which coat the bacterial surface and counteract AMP activity. Our study describes a mechanism by which the insect symbiotic microbiome offsets gut immunity to achieve homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16023
JournalNature Microbiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 14 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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