The journal of histochemistry and cytochemistry : official journal of the Histochemistry Society

Interactions of lectins with specific cell types in toad urinary bladder. Surface distribution revealed by colloidal gold probes and label fracture.

PMID 3090136


Colloidal gold probes were used in conjunction with pre-embedding labeling and label-fracture to show the plasma membrane distribution of Helix pomatia lectin (HPL) and wheat germ lectin (WGL) binding sites on different epithelial cell types of toad urinary bladder. Mitochondria-rich cells were virtually unlabeled with HPL, but showed a strong affinity for WGL. Granular cells were weakly labeled with WGL but had a variable affinity for HPL. Strongly labeled granular cells were arranged in either chains or clusters that were surrounded by poorly-stained granular cells. By label-fracture, the distribution of gold-labeled lectins was related to other membrane features seen in freeze-fracture. Neither HPL nor WGL binding sites appeared to be specifically related to the large intramembrane particles that characterize granular cells, or to the rod-shaped intramembrane particles that are a feature of membranes of mitochondria-rich cells. The preferential lectin binding affinity of these functionally distinct cell types provides an important starting point for their isolation and the characterization of their plasma membranes. Furthermore, the label-fracture approach can now be used to examine the plasma membrane modifications that occur in these cells under different physiologic conditions affecting epithelial transport processes.