Lectins are glycan-binding proteins with no catalytic activity and ubiquitously expressed in nature. Numerous bacteria use lectins to efficiently bind to epithelia, thus facilitating tissue colonisation. Wounded skin is one of the preferred niches for Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which has developed diverse strategies to impair tissue repair processes and promote infection. Here, we analyse the effect of the P. aeruginosa fucose-binding lectin LecB on human keratinocytes and demonstrate that it triggers events in the host, upon binding to fucosylated residues on cell membrane receptors, which extend beyond its role as an adhesion molecule. We found that LecB associates with insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor and dampens its signalling, leading to the arrest of cell cycle. In addition, we describe a novel LecB-triggered mechanism to down-regulate host cell receptors by showing that LecB leads to insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor internalisation and subsequent missorting towards intracellular endosomal compartments, without receptor activation. Overall, these data highlight that LecB is a multitask virulence factor that, through subversion of several host pathways, has a profound impact on keratinocyte proliferation and survival.
This study provides a novel function of the bacterial lectin LecB, which dampens cell proliferation and survival by targeting the insulin-like growth factor-1 for degradation, without receptor activation.