A new lectin-gold complex for ultrastructural localization of galacturonic acids

N. Benhamou, N. Gilboa-Garber, J. Trudel, A. Asselin

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We report the development of a cytochemical affinity technique for detection of galacturonic acids at the ultrastructural level. The highly purified gonad lectin from Aplysia depilans (AGL) was tagged with colloidal gold particles and used for labeling carbohydrates in resin-embedded sections of various plant and fungal tissues. Patterns of AGL binding sites were compared to those obtained with a D-galactose-specific lectin, Ricinus communis agglutinin I. Differences in labeling patterns were noted, indicating that the lectins exhibited differential carbohydrate binding. In addition, the considerable loss of labeling over isolated wheat coleoptile walls treated for removal of pectin, after incubation with the AGL-gold complex, strongly suggested an affinity of AGL for pectic substances. A series of cytochemical controls, including sugar inhibition tests, has proven the specificity of AGL towards galacturonic acids. The potential value of this new lectin for ultrastructural studies on wall cell pectic substances in plant biology and pathology is demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1403-1411
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1988
Externally publishedYes


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