• CD4;
  • T lymphocytes;
  • Jacalin;
  • Lectin;
  • Proliferative response


The Galβ(1–3)GalNAc-binding lectin jacalin is known to specifically induce the proliferation of human CD4+ T lymphocytes in the presence of autologous monocytes and to interact with the CD4 molecule and block HIV-1 infection of CD4+ cells. We further show that jacalin-induced proliferation is characterized by an unusual pattern of T cell activation and cytokine production by human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). A cognate interaction between T cells and monocytes was critical for jacalin-induced proliferation, and human recombinant interleukin (IL)-1 and IL-6 did not replace the co-stimulatory activity of monocytes. Blocking studies using monoclonal antibodies (mAb) point out the possible importance of two molecular pathways of interaction, the CD2/LFA-3 and LFA-1/ICAM-1 pathways. One out of two anti-CD4 mAb abolished jacalin responsiveness. Jacalin induced interferon-γ and high IL-6 secretion, mostly by monocytes, and no detectable IL-2 synthesis or secretion by PBMC. In contrast, jacalin-stimulated Jurkat T cells secreted IL-2. CD3 Jurkat cell variants failed to secrete IL-2, suggesting the involvement of the T cell receptor/CD3 complex pathway in jacalin signaling. IL-2 secretion by CD4 Jurkat variant cells was delayed and lowered. In addition to CD4, jacalin interacts with the CD5 molecule. Jacalin-CD4 interaction and the proliferation of PBMC, as well as IL-2 secretion by Jurkat cells were inhibited by specific jacalin-competitive sugars.