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Brain Res. 1985 Sep 30;344(1):41-8.

Transneuronal transport of lectins.


Axonal and transneuronal transport of the plant lectins wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), Pisum sativum agglutinin (PSA), Lens culinaris agglutinin (LCA), soybean agglutinin (SBA), peanut agglutinin (PNA), Concanavalin A agglutinin (Con A), and Ulex europeus agglutinin (UEA) were examined and compared using an immunocytochemical staining method. WGA, which binds to N-acetylglucosamine and sialic acid carbohydrate residues, and the 3 mannose binding lectins (Con A, PSA and LCA) were found to undergo retrograde transport to the facial nucleus after injection into the facial muscles, and anterograde transport to the optic tectum after injection in the vitreous, and to the spinal trigeminal nucleus caudalis after injection into the mystatial vibrissae. SBA showed a slight tendency to be transported retrogradely, but not in the anterograde direction, whereas UEA and PNA were not axonally transported in any of these systems. All lectins which were transported in the anterograde direction labeled neuronal somata in their respective terminal fields indicating that transneuronal transport had taken place. Axonal and transneuronal transport of the lectins appears to be dependent upon their respective carbohydrate affinities. Transneuronal transport which can be demonstrated for certain lectins indicates that mechanisms exist whereby neurons exchange large molecules which could be involved in mediating trophic and other influences on target cells.

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