Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary The lectins DBA, WGA, SBA, Con A, GS-1, LFA and PNA were used to characterize the carbohydrate domains of the rat neuromuscular junction. DBA stained only the synaptic domains of muscle surface. All other lectins stained the whole muscle surface but the intensity of staining was stronger at the synaptic regions. However, when sections were treated with several digestive agents prior to lectin application, the lectin staining pattern changed dramatically. Collagenase-sensitive GlcNac, Mannose, Sialic acid, and GalNac-containing glycoconjugates associated with synaptic regions but not present extrasynaptically were revealed after chemical treatment. On the basis of these modifications it is proposed that, apart from the synapse-specific Gal-Nac-containing glycoconjugate already described elsewhere, new carbohydrate-containing compounds are evidenced. These results provide a new insight into regional specialization of the extracellular matrix associated with the neuromuscular junctions and indicates that pretreatment with various agents, not necessary digestive substances, may alter molecular properties of muscle membrane and uncover previously unknown binding sites.
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