We used domain-selective biotinylation/125I-streptavidin blotting (Sargiacomo, M., M. P. Lisanti, L. Graeve, A. Le Bivic, and E. Rodriguez-Boulan. 1989 J. Membr. Biol. 107:277-286), in combination with lectin precipitation, to analyze the apical and basolateral glycoprotein composition of Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells and to explore the role of glycosylation in the targeting of membrane glycoproteins. All six lectins used recognized both apical and basolateral glycoproteins, indicating that none of the sugar moieties detected were characteristic of the particular epithelial cell surface. Pulse-chase experiments coupled with domain-selective glycoprotein recovery were designed to detect the initial appearance of newly synthesized glycoproteins at the apical or basolateral cell surface. After a short pulse with a radioactive precursor, glycoproteins reaching each surface were biotinylated, extracted, and recovered via precipitation with immobilized streptavidin. Several basolateral glycoproteins (including two sulfated proteins) and at least two apical glycoproteins (one of them the major sulfated protein of MDCK cells) appeared at the corresponding surface after 20-40 min of chase, but were not detected in the opposite surface, suggesting that they were sorted intracellularly and vectorially delivered to their target membrane. Several "peripheral" apical proteins were detected at maximal levels on the apical surface immediately after the 15-min pulse, suggesting a very fast intracellular transit. Finally, domain-selective labeling of surface carbohydrates with biotin hydrazide (after periodate oxidation) revealed strikingly different integral and peripheral glycoprotein patterns, resembling the Con A pattern, after labeling with sulfo-N-hydroxy-succinimido-biotin. The approaches described here should be useful in characterizing the steady-state distribution and biogenesis of endogenous cell surface components in a variety of epithelial cell lines.

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