Lectin histochemistry of the Drosophila embryo
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A selection of lectins was used to characterise changes in the distribution of glycoconjugates during the embryonic development of Drosophila melanogaster. The blastoderm of pre-gastrulation embryos bound low levels of the lectins LPA, UEA-I and PNA. The germ line progenitors (pole cells) bound ConA, PNA and LPA. The yolk granules, the trachea, and the gut bound GSA-I. All lectins had detectable labeling of the ectoderm. The somata of the nervous system bound ConA and LPA. Electron microscopic analysis of PNA labeling of the nervous system revealed exclusive binding to the axon tracts and ensheathing glia. Hyaluronate lyase digestion of oligosaccharides revealed gut and nervous system binding with WGA and UEA-I. This study revealed useful biochemical probes of gut, epidermal and nervous system development that identify the distribution of likely ligands for as yet uncharacterised endogenous lectins.
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