In the present study, we have examined the distribution of the hyaluronate receptor as well as hyaluronate itself in a variety of adult tissues. The hyaluronate receptor was localized with a monoclonal antibody, termed K-3, while hyaluronate was localized using proteolytic fragments of cartilage proteoglycan. Staining with the K-3 monoclonal antibody revealed that the hyaluronate receptor was present in a variety of epithelia including the skin, cheek, tongue, esophagus, vagina, intestines, oviduct, and bladder. However, it was notably absent from epithelial cells of the cornea and stomach as well as from endothelial cells of blood vessels. When present, the hyaluronate receptor was preferentially located in regions of active cell growth, such as in the basal layers of stratified epithelium and at the base of the crypts of Lieberkuhn in intestinal epithelium. A similar phenomenon was observed in cultured 3T3 cells. Cultures of 3T3 cells that were actively proliferating were found to have greater amounts of the receptor than their nonproliferating counterparts. When the various tissues were examined for hyaluronate, it was found to have a widespread distribution, being present in most of the basement membranes and between the cells in stratified epithelium. Indeed, in many cases, the distribution of hyaluronate closely paralleled that of the hyaluronate receptor. These results suggest that the interaction between hyaluronate and its receptor is involved in cell-to-substratum adhesion.

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