The interaction of microbes with pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) is essential for protective immunity. While many PRRs that recognize mycobacteria have been identified, none is essentially required for host defense in vivo. Here, we have identified the C-type lectin receptor CLECSF8 (CLEC4D, MCL) as a key molecule in anti-mycobacterial host defense. Clecsf8-/- mice exhibit higher bacterial burdens and increased mortality upon M. tuberculosis infection. Additionally, Clecsf8 deficiency is associated with exacerbated pulmonary inflammation, characterized by enhanced neutrophil recruitment. Clecsf8-/- mice show reduced mycobacterial uptake by pulmonary leukocytes, but infection with opsonized bacteria can restore this phagocytic defect as well as decrease bacterial burdens. Notably, a CLECSF8 polymorphism identified in humans is associated with an increased susceptibility to pulmonary tuberculosis. We conclude that CLECSF8 plays a non-redundant role in anti-mycobacterial immunity in mouse and in man.
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