Lectins have been used extensively to detect changes in carbohydrate moieties on the surface of embryonic cells during early development. Peanut agglutinin (PNA) in particular has been used to investigate changes related to cell differentiation. PNA has also been used to differentiate between the rostral and caudal sclerotome halves which have been shown to be functionally different, with neural crest cells and neurites traversing only the rostral half during their migration. In this study, we have sectioned and stained chick embryos between 3 and 8 days of age with PNA to examine the distribution of PNA binding sites associated with the vertebral column during this period and also to determine the fates of the rostral and caudal sclerotome halves. Ultrastructural localisation of PNA-gold conjugate showed that binding sites for this lectin were present intracellularly and extracellularly both on cell surfaces and in the matrix. At the light microscope level, a clear banding pattern emerged after staining with PNA which consisted of alternating light and dark staining along the entire length of the vertebral axis of the embryo. In the younger embryos, a simple banding pattern emerged where the rostral sclerotome half of each segment stained only lightly while the caudal half stained darkly. This banding pattern was present throughout the 6 day period of development and could be traced continuously but grew more complex as the sclerotome cells migrated to surround the notochord and neural tube and as the dorsal root ganglia developed. The rostral sclerotome half was found to contribute to the caudal part of one vertebral body and its neural arch, while the caudal sclerotome half was found to contribute to the intervertebral disc, the rostral half of the next caudal vertebra, and part of its neural arch.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Anatomy and Embryology|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 1 1989|
- Peanut lectin
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Biology
- Cell Biology