The Histochemical Journal

, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 599–607 | Cite as

Lectin binding by microvillous membranes and coated-pit regions of human syncytial trophoblast

  • A. Whyte


The distribution of saccharides on the microvillous membrane of the human syncytial trophoblast was investigated using ferritin conjugates of four lectins: concanavalin A (specific for α-d-manno- and α-d-glucopyranosyl residues), wheatgerm agglutinin (specific forN-acetylglucosamine),Limulus polyphemus lectin (specific forN-acetylneuraminic acid), andLotus tetragonolobus lectin (specific for α-l-fucose). Concanavalin A and wheatgerm agglutinin (WGA) reacted strongly with the surface membrane and ferritin deposits were also observed in coated pit regions of the membrane. Lectins fromL. polyphemus andL. tetragonolobus, however, reacted only weakly with the microvillous border and neither reacted with coated pits.

Enhanced agglutinability of trophoblast cells in comparison with other foetal cells from the same conceptus was seen with WGA. This agglutination was inhibited by addition of acetylglucosamine or by a solubilized membrane fraction which was bound by a column of WGA-Sepharose. The membrane fraction which did not bind to the column did not inhibit agglutination. Electrophoresis of the WGA-bound membrane proteins revealed six subunits, the major band having an apparent mol. wt. of 55 000. A protein of this mol. wt was also seen in coated vesicles isolated from equivalent human placentae.


Ferritin Membrane Fraction Concanavalin Human Placenta Trophoblast Cell 
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Copyright information

© Chapman and Hall Ltd 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Whyte
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PathologyCellular Pathology DivisionCambridgeUK

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