Novel inhibitory effect of galectin-3 on the respiratory burst induced by Staphylococcus aureus in human neutrophils
Journal article, 2023

Among the responders to microbial invasion, neutrophils represent the earliest and perhaps the most important immune cells that contribute to host defense with the primary role to kill invading microbes using a plethora of stored anti-microbial molecules. One such process is the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by the neutrophil enzyme complex NADPH-oxidase, which can be assembled and active either extracellularly or intracellularly in phagosomes (during phagocytosis) and/or granules (in the absence of phagocytosis). One soluble factor modulating the interplay between immune cells and microbes is galectin-3 (gal-3), a carbohydrate-binding protein that regulates a wide variety of neutrophil functions. Gal-3 has been shown to potentiate neutrophil interaction with bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus, and is also a potent activator of the neutrophil respiratory burst, inducing large amounts of granule-localized ROS in primed cells. Herein, the role of gal-3 in regulating S. aureus phagocytosis and S. aureus-induced intracellular ROS was analyzed by imaging flow cytometry and luminol-based chemiluminescence, respectively. Although gal-3 did not interfere with S. aureus phagocytosis per se, it potently inhibited phagocytosis-induced intracellular ROS production. Using the gal-3 inhibitor GB0139 (TD139) and carbohydrate recognition domain of gal-3 (gal-3C), we found that the gal-3-induced inhibitory effect on ROS production was dependent on the carbohydrate recognition domain of the lectin. In summary, this is the first report of an inhibitory role of gal-3 in regulating phagocytosis-induced ROS production.


reactive oxygen species



Staphylococcus aureus


Vignesh Venkatakrishnan

University of Gothenburg

Chalmers, Life Sciences, Chemical Biology

Jonas Elmwall

University of Gothenburg

Trisha Lahiri

University of Gothenburg

Martina Sundqvist

University of Gothenburg

Linda Bergqvist

University of Gothenburg

Hakon Leffler

Lund University

Ulf J. Nilsson

Lund University

Amanda Welin

Linköping University

Johan Bylund

University of Gothenburg

Anna Karlsson-Bengtsson

University of Gothenburg

Chalmers, Life Sciences


0959-6658 (ISSN) 1460-2423 (eISSN)

Vol. 33 6 503-511

Subject Categories


Immunology in the medical area

Rheumatology and Autoimmunity





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