Lectin Receptors on Human Corneal Epithelium: Visualization by Fluorescence Microscopy and Electron Microscopy

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Lectin receptors on human corneal epithelium have been studied for the first time. Concanavalin A (Con A), Wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), Lotus tetragonolobus (LT) and Dolichos biflorus (DB) conjugated with fluorescein-isothiocyanate (FITC) were used for fluorescence microscopy. Con A and WGA were labeled with colloidal gold, a well-defined marker, for transmission electron microscopy. These four lectins show different binding patterns: Con A and WGA mostly bind cell plasma membranes while LT and DB have an intracellular distribution. At ultrastructural level, WGA receptors are distributed on all the superficial cells while Con A receptors are distributed only on those without microvilli. The study of membrane glycoconju-gates, which are involved in many key biological functions, is important for a better understanding of the physiopathological aspects of the cornea.

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