BACL Is a Novel Brain-Associated, Non-NKC-Encoded Mammalian C-Type Lectin-Like Receptor of the CLEC2 Family

Olga Lysenko, Dorothea Schulte, Michel Mittelbronn, Alexander Steinle*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Natural Killer Gene Complex (NKC)-encoded C-type lectin-like receptors (CTLRs) are expressed on various immune cells including T cells, NK cells and myeloid cells and thereby contribute to the orchestration of cellular immune responses. Some NKC-encoded CTLRs are grouped into the C-type lectin family 2 (CLEC2 family) and interact with genetically linked CTLRs of the NKRP1 family. While many CLEC2 family members are expressed by hematopoietic cells (e.g. CD69 (CLEC2C)), others such as the keratinocyte-associated KACL (CLEC2A) are specifically expressed by other tissues. Here we provide the first characterization of the orphan gene CLEC2L. In contrast to other CLEC2 family members, CLEC2L is conserved among mammals and located outside of the NKC. We show that CLEC2L-encoded CTLRs are expressed as non-glycosylated, disulfide-linked homodimers at the cell surface. CLEC2L expression is fairly tissue-restricted with a predominant expression in the brain. Thus CLEC2L-encoded CTLRs were designated BACL (brain-associated C-type lectin). Combining in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry, we show that BACL is expressed by neurons in the CNS, with a pronounced expression by Purkinje cells. Notably, the CLEC2L locus is adjacent to another orphan CTLR gene (KLRG2), but reporter cell assays did neither indicate interaction of BACL with the KLRG2 ectodomain nor with human NK cell lines or lymphocytes. Along these lines, growth of BACL-expressing tumor cell lines in immunocompetent mice did not provide evidence for an immune-related function of BACL. Altogether, the CLEC2L gene encodes a homodimeric cell surface CTLR that stands out among CLEC2 family members by its conservation in mammals, its biochemical properties and the predominant expression in the brain. Future studies will have to reveal insights into the functional relevance of BACL in the context of its neuronal expression.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere65345
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


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