Tzu-Han Lo, a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences at Academia Sinica, has made contributions to the field of macrophage biology. His work has particularly focused on inflammation, especially in the context of fibrotic response. One of his works includes a study on the regulation of macrophage polarization in ureteral obstruction. This research has illuminated the role of inflammatory cell infiltration and activation during the early stages of kidney injury, a common pathological feature of chronic kidney disease.

In addition to his work on macrophage biology, Tzu-Han Lo has also delved into research related to galectins, a family of β-galactoside–binding proteins. His work in this area has centered on the role of galectins in recognizing microbial glycans, particularly lipopolysaccharides (LPSs). He has explored their impact on host defense mechanisms, including autophagy and both canonical and non-canonical inflammasome signaling pathways.

His research has offered insights into the complex interactions between host immunity and microbial components. This has contributed to our understanding of inflammatory responses and their implications for human health.

Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • The role of galectins in the regulation of autophagy and inflammasome in host immunity. Seminars in immunopathology Lo, T. H., Weng, I. C., Chen, H. L., Liu, F. T. 2024; 46 (3-4): 6


    Galectins, a family of glycan-binding proteins have been shown to bind a wide range of glycans. In the cytoplasm, these glycans can be endogenous (or "self"), originating from damaged endocytic vesicles, or exogenous (or "non-self"), found on the surface of invading microbial pathogens. Galectins can detect these unusual cytosolic exposures to glycans and serve as critical regulators in orchestrating immune responses in innate and adaptive immunity. This review provides an overview of how galectins modulate host cellular responses, such as autophagy, xenophagy, and inflammasome-dependent cell death program, to infection.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s00281-024-01018-5

    View details for PubMedID 39042263

    View details for PubMedCentralID 6590709

  • Cytosolic galectin-4 enchains bacteria, restricts their motility, and promotes inflammasome activation in intestinal epithelial cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Li, C. S., Lo, T. H., Tu, T. J., Chueh, D. Y., Yao, C. I., Lin, C. H., Chen, P., Liu, F. T. 2023; 120 (5): e2207091120


    Galectin-4, a member of the galectin family of animal glycan-binding proteins (GBPs), is specifically expressed in gastrointestinal epithelial cells and is known to be able to bind microbes. However, its function in host-gut microbe interactions remains unknown. Here, we show that intracellular galectin-4 in intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) coats cytosolic Salmonella enterica serovar Worthington and induces the formation of bacterial chains and aggregates. Galectin-4 enchains bacteria during their growth by binding to the O-antigen of lipopolysaccharides. Furthermore, the binding of galectin-4 to bacterial surfaces restricts intracellular bacterial motility. Galectin-4 enhances caspase-1 activation and mature IL-18 production in infected IECs especially when autophagy is inhibited. Finally, orally administered S. enterica serovar Worthington, which is recognized by human galectin-4 but not mouse galectin-4, translocated from the intestines to mesenteric lymph nodes less effectively in human galectin-4-transgenic mice than in littermate controls. Our results suggest that galectin-4 plays an important role in host-gut microbe interactions and prevents the dissemination of pathogens. The results of the study revealed a novel mechanism of host-microbe interactions that involves the direct binding of cytosolic lectins to glycans on intracellular microbes.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.2207091120

    View details for PubMedID 36689650

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC9945948

  • Galectin-3 promotes noncanonical inflammasome activation through intracellular binding to lipopolysaccharide glycans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Lo, T. H., Chen, H. L., Yao, C. I., Weng, I. C., Li, C. S., Huang, C. C., Chen, N. J., Lin, C. H., Liu, F. T. 2021; 118 (30)


    Cytosolic lipopolysaccharides (LPSs) bind directly to caspase-4/5/11 through their lipid A moiety, inducing inflammatory caspase oligomerization and activation, which is identified as the noncanonical inflammasome pathway. Galectins, β-galactoside-binding proteins, bind to various gram-negative bacterial LPS, which display β-galactoside-containing polysaccharide chains. Galectins are mainly present intracellularly, but their interactions with cytosolic microbial glycans have not been investigated. We report that in cell-free systems, galectin-3 augments the LPS-induced assembly of caspase-4/11 oligomers, leading to increased caspase-4/11 activation. Its carboxyl-terminal carbohydrate-recognition domain is essential for this effect, and its N-terminal domain, which contributes to the self-association property of the protein, is also critical, suggesting that this promoting effect is dependent on the functional multivalency of galectin-3. Moreover, galectin-3 enhances intracellular LPS-induced caspase-4/11 oligomerization and activation, as well as gasdermin D cleavage in human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293T cells, and it additionally promotes interleukin-1β production and pyroptotic death in macrophages. Galectin-3 also promotes caspase-11 activation and gasdermin D cleavage in macrophages treated with outer membrane vesicles, which are known to be taken up by cells and release LPSs into the cytosol. Coimmunoprecipitation confirmed that galectin-3 associates with caspase-11 after intracellular delivery of LPSs. Immunofluorescence staining revealed colocalization of LPSs, galectin-3, and caspase-11 independent of host N-glycans. Thus, we conclude that galectin-3 amplifies caspase-4/11 oligomerization and activation through LPS glycan binding, resulting in more intense pyroptosis-a critical mechanism of host resistance against bacterial infection that may provide opportunities for new therapeutic interventions.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.2026246118

    View details for PubMedID 34301890

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8325309

  • Galectin-8 Is Upregulated in Keratinocytes by IL-17A and Promotes Proliferation by Regulating Mitosis in Psoriasis. The Journal of investigative dermatology Lo, Y. H., Li, C. S., Chen, H. L., Chiang, C. Y., Huang, C. C., Tu, T. J., Lo, T. H., Choy, D. F., Arron, J. R., Chen, H. Y., Liu, F. T. 2021; 141 (3): 503-511.e9


    Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that develops under the influence of the IL-23/T helper 17 cell axis and is characterized by intense inflammation and prominent epidermal hyperplasia. In this study, we demonstrate that galectin-8, a β-galactoside‒binding lectin, is upregulated in the epidermis of human psoriatic skin lesions as well as in a mouse model of psoriasis induced by intradermal IL-23 injections and in IL-17A‒treated keratinocytes. We show that keratinocyte proliferation is less prominent in galectin-8‒knockout mice after intradermal IL-23 treatment than in wild-type mice. In addition, we show that galectin-8 levels in keratinocytes are positively correlated with the ability of the cells to proliferate and that transitioning from mitosis into G1 phase is delayed in galectin-8‒knockout HaCaT cells after cell-cycle synchronization and release. We demonstrate by immunofluorescence staining and immunoblotting the presence of galectin-8 within the mitotic apparatus. We reveal by coimmunoprecipitation and mass spectrometry analysis that α-tubulin interacts with galectin-8 during mitosis. Finally, we show that in the absence of galectin-8, pericentrin compactness is lessened and mitotic microtubule length is shortened, as demonstrated by immunofluorescence staining. We conclude that galectin-8 is upregulated in psoriasis and contributes to the hyperproliferation of keratinocytes by maintaining centrosome integrity during mitosis through interacting with α-tubulin.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jid.2020.07.021

    View details for PubMedID 32805218

  • Cytosolic galectin-3 and -8 regulate antibacterial autophagy through differential recognition of host glycans on damaged phagosomes. Glycobiology Weng, I. C., Chen, H. L., Lo, T. H., Lin, W. H., Chen, H. Y., Hsu, D. K., Liu, F. T. 2018; 28 (6): 392-405


    While glycans are generally displayed on the cell surface or confined within the lumen of organelles, they can become exposed to the cytosolic milieu upon disruption of organelle membrane by various stresses or pathogens. Galectins are a family of β-galactoside-binding animal lectins synthesized and predominantly localized in the cytosol. Recent research indicates that some galectins may act as "danger signal sensors" by detecting unusual exposure of glycans to the cytosol. Galectin-8 was shown to promote antibacterial autophagy by recognizing host glycans on ruptured vacuolar membranes and interacting with the autophagy adaptor protein NDP52. Galectin-3 also accumulates at damaged phagosomes containing bacteria; however, its functional consequence remains obscure. By studying mouse macrophages infected with Listeria monocytogenes (LM), we showed that endogenous galectin-3 protects intracellular LM by suppressing the autophagic response through a host N-glycan-dependent mechanism. Knock out of the galectin-3 gene resulted in enhanced LC3 recruitment to LM and decreased bacterial replication, a phenotype recapitulated when Galectin-8-deficient macrophages were depleted of N-glycans. Moreover, we explored the concept that alterations in cell surface glycosylation by extracellular factors can be deciphered by cytosolic galectins during the process of phagocytosis/endocytosis, followed by rupture of phagosomal/endosomal membrane. Notably, treatment of cells with sialidase, which removes sialic acid from glycans, resulted in increased galectin-3 accumulation and decreased galectin-8 recruitment at damaged phagosomes, and led to a stronger anti-autophagic response. Our findings demonstrate that cytosolic galectins may sense changes in glycosylation at the cell surface and modulate cellular response through differential recognition of glycans on ruptured phagosomal membranes.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/glycob/cwy017

    View details for PubMedID 29800364

  • Galectin-3 Enhances Avian H5N1 Influenza A Virus-Induced Pulmonary Inflammation by Promoting NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation. The American journal of pathology Chen, Y. J., Wang, S. F., Weng, I. C., Hong, M. H., Lo, T. H., Jan, J. T., Hsu, L. C., Chen, H. Y., Liu, F. T. 2018; 188 (4): 1031-1042


    Highly pathogenic avian influenza A H5N1 virus causes pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome in humans. Virus-induced excessive inflammatory response contributes to severe disease and high mortality rates. Galectin-3, a β-galactoside-binding protein widely distributed in immune and epithelial cells, regulates various immune functions and modulates microbial infections. Here, we describe galectin-3 up-regulation in mouse lung tissue after challenges with the H5N1 influenza virus. We investigated the effects of endogenous galectin-3 on H5N1 infection and found that survival of galectin-3 knockout (Gal-3KO) mice was comparable with wild-type (WT) mice after infections. Compared with infected WT mice, infected Gal-3KO mice exhibited less inflammation in the lungs and reduced IL-1β levels in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. In addition, the bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMMs) from Gal-3KO mice exhibited reduced oligomerization of apoptosis-associated speck-like proteins containing caspase-associated recruitment domains and secreted less IL-1β compared with BMMs from WT mice. However, similar levels of the inflammasome component of nucleotide oligomerization domain-like receptor protein 3 (NLRP3) were observed in two genotypes of BMMs. Co-immunoprecipitation data indicated galectin-3 and NLRP3 interaction in BMMs infected with H5N1. An association was also observed between galectin-3 and NLRP3/apoptosis-associated speck-like proteins containing caspase-associated recruitment domain complex. Combined, our results suggest that endogenous galectin-3 enhances the effects of H5N1 infection by promoting host inflammatory responses and regulating IL-1β production by macrophages via interaction with NLRP3.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ajpath.2017.12.014

    View details for PubMedID 29366678

  • TREM-1 regulates macrophage polarization in ureteral obstruction. Kidney international Lo, T. H., Tseng, K. Y., Tsao, W. S., Yang, C. Y., Hsieh, S. L., Chiu, A. W., Takai, T., Mak, T. W., Tarng, D. C., Chen, N. J. 2014; 86 (6): 1174-86


    Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is an emerging worldwide public health problem. Inflammatory cell infiltration and activation during the early stages in injured kidneys is a common pathologic feature of CKD. Here, we determined whether an important inflammatory regulator, triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells (TREM)-1, is upregulated in renal tissues collected from mouse ureteral obstruction-induced nephritis. TREM-1 is crucial for modulating macrophage polarization, and has a pivotal role in mediating tubular injury and interstitial collagen deposition in obstructive nephritis. Lysates from nephritic kidneys triggered a TREM-1-dependent M1 polarization ex vivo, consistent with the observation that granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF)-derived M1 macrophages express higher levels of TREM-1 in comparison with M-CSF-derived cells. Moreover, agonistic TREM-1 cross-link significantly strengthens the inductions of iNOS and GM-CSF in M1 cells. These observations are validated by a strong clinical correlation between infiltrating TREM-1-expressing/iNOS-positive macrophages and renal injury in human obstructive nephropathy. Thus, TREM-1 may be a potential diagnostic and therapeutic target in human kidney disease.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/ki.2014.205

    View details for PubMedID 24918157