Biochemistry (Moscow)

, Volume 75, Issue 5, pp 585–589 | Cite as

Protein-lipid particles of medicinal leech salivary gland secretion; Their size and morphology

  • I. P. BaskovaEmail author
  • T. G. Yudina
  • L. L. Zavalova
  • A. S. Dudkina


The relative location of proteins and lipids in particles of medicinal leech salivary gland secretion (SGS) is revealed for the first time. Their sizes and morphology are described. Using scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy, it was determined that SGS consists of particles of different sizes and form. This picture is supported by confocal laser scanning microscopy of SGS preparations treated with fluorescein isothiocyanate. After incubation with nonionic detergents (Brij 35 and Tween 20), transmission electron microscopy revealed the dissociation of fragments composing protein-lipid particles (PLP), and in this case an increase in free protein concentration determined by a modification of the Lowry method was observed. Perylene probing of lipids in SGS preparations showed that they are concentrated mainly inside PLP and are almost absent on the surface. Cholesterol was detected during SGS probing using the cholesteryl-Bodipy (hydrophobic fluorescent analog of cholesterol) on surface sections during confocal analysis of electron microphotographs of SGS. This analysis detected PLP structures in SGS resembling caveoles full of cholesterol. SGS, preliminary frozen at −70°C, transformed into a multitude of similar small particles visualized by transmission electron microscopy, whose fixed distribution resembled water crystal structure.

Key words

medicinal leech salivary gland secretion scanning electron microscopy transmission electron microscopy confocal laser scanning microscopy nonionic detergents lipids cholesterol 



confocal laser scanning microscopy


fluorescein isothiocyanate


protein-lipid particles


scanning electron microscopy


salivary gland secretion


transmission electron microscopy


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Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. P. Baskova
    • 1
    Email author
  • T. G. Yudina
    • 1
  • L. L. Zavalova
    • 2
  • A. S. Dudkina
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of BiologyLomonosov Moscow State UniversityMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Shemyakin and Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic ChemistryRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  3. 3.Faculty of ChemistryLomonosov Moscow State UniversityMoscowRussia

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