Sialic acid–binding Ig-like lectins, or Siglecs, vary in their specificity for sialic acid–containing ligands and are mainly expressed by cells of the immune system. Many Siglecs are inhibitory receptors expressed in innate immune cells that regulate inflammation mediated by damage-associated and pathogen-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs and PAMPs). This family also includes molecules involved in adhesion and phagocytosis and receptors that can associate with the ITAM-containing DAP12 adaptor. Siglecs contribute to the inhibition of immune cells both by binding to ligands (expressed in the same cells) and by responding to pathogen-derived sialoglycoconjugates. They can help maintain tolerance in B lymphocytes, modulate the activation of conventional and plasmacytoid dendritic cells, and contribute to the regulation of T cell function both directly and indirectly. Siglecs modulate immune responses, influencing almost every cell in the immune system, and are of relevance both in health and disease.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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