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Analysis of the distribution of glycoconjugates in the digestive gland of the bivalve mollusc Mytilus galloprovincialis by conventional and lectin histochemistry

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Abstract.

We examined the distribution and pattern of reactivity of a panel of 16 lectins in the digestive gland of the bivalve mollusc Mytilus galloprovincialis at the light-microscopic level. Various chemical treatments were applied in combination with lectins to differentiate between N- and O-linked oligosaccharides. Several control reactions were carried out, including replacement of lectins by buffer and incubation with their specific competitive inhibitors. Some lectins reacted selectively with particular cell types, thus revealing a cell-specific glycoconjugate distribution pattern which is possibly related to the metabolic role of each cell type in the digestive gland. Glycoconjugates containing glucosamine, mannose, and sulfated galactose were associated with the endolysosomal system of digestive cells. These glycoconjugates were also found in small vesicles randomly distributed in the cytoplasm of adipogranular cells in the connective tissue. However galactosamine residues appeared to be associated mainly with basophilic cells. Fucose residues did not exhibit a cell-specific distribution and appeared in small amounts homogeneously distributed throughout the digestive gland tissue. Conventional histochemical reactions for carbohydrate detection revealed moderate amounts of periodic-acid–Schiff-positive, neutral carbohydrates widely distributed in digestive and connective tissues. Among the acid carbohydrates, most cell types contained complex sulfated carbohydrates, but not carboxylated ones; this agreed well with the complete lack of sialic acid residues in all cell types studied, as observed by lectin histochemistry.

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Received: 8 August 1996 / Accepted: 17 November 1996

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Robledo, Y., Madrid, J., Leis, O. et al. Analysis of the distribution of glycoconjugates in the digestive gland of the bivalve mollusc Mytilus galloprovincialis by conventional and lectin histochemistry. Cell Tissue Res 288, 591–602 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1007/s004410050845

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  • Key words: Carbohydrates
  • Glycoconjugates
  • Digestive tract
  • Connective tissue
  • Lectin histochemistry
  • Mytilus galloprovincialis (Mollusca)