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J Histochem Cytochem. 1981 Apr;29(4):531-41.

Ultrastructural localization of nuclei acids by the use of enzyme-gold complexes.


A cytochemical technique for the ultrastructural localization of substrates using enzyme-gold complexes is reported. RNase A and DNase I have been labeled with gold particles. The RNase-gold and dNase-gold complexes obtained were applied on thin sections of glutaraldehyde-fixed and Epon-embedded tissues. Different cellular compartments were labeled by these enzyme-gold complexes. Using the RNase-gold complex the rough endoplasmic reticulum appeared decorated with gold particles. The gold marker was also present over the nucleus, especially over the nucleolus; mitochondria were weakly labeled. Using the DNase-gold complex, gold particles were concentrated over the euchromatin of the nucleus and the mitochondria. The heterochromatin and the nucleolus showed a less intense labeling. For both enzyme-gold complexes, the Golgi area, the secretory granules and the extracellular space appeared free of label. In those control conditions where the substrates were added to the enzyme-gold complexes a major reduction in the labeling was observed. A quantitative evaluation of the labeling was performed. This evaluation confirmed the qualitative observations and the marked reduction of labeling occurring under the control conditions. The combination of the specificity of the enzyme-substrate interactions with the size and electron density of the gold particles and the good ultrastructural preservation of the tissues resulted in a very specific labeling with high resolution. These results demonstrate the possibility of detecting substrates by means of enzyme-gold complexes at the electron microscope level.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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