Restriction of human cytomegalovirus infection by galectin-9

Emily A Machala, Selmir Avdic, Lauren Stern, Dirk M Zajonc, Chris A Benedict, Emily Blyth, David J Gottlieb, Allison Abendroth, Brian P McSharry, Barry Slobedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a ubiquitous human herpesvirus. While HCMV infection is generally asymptomatic in the immunocompetent, it can have devastating consequences in those with compromised or underdeveloped immune systems, including transplant recipients and neonates. Galectins are a widely expressed protein family that have been demonstrated to modulate both antiviral immunity and regulate direct host-virus interactions. The potential for galectins to directly modulate HCMV infection has not previously been studied, and our results reveal that galectin-9 (Gal-9) can potently inhibit HCMV infection. Gal-9-mediated inhibition of HCMV was dependent upon its carbohydrate recognition domains and thus dependent on glycan interactions. Temperature shift studies revealed that Gal-9 specific inhibition was mediated primarily at the level of virus-cell fusion and not binding. Additionally, we found that during reactivation of HCMV in hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) patients soluble Gal-9 is upregulated. This study provides the first evidence for Gal-9 functioning as a potent antiviral defense effector molecule against HCMV infection and identifies it as a potential clinical candidate to restrict HCMV infections.

Original languageEnglish
Article number01746-18
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2019


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