The carbohydrate determinants recognized by the HNK-1 antibody are potential cell-cell recognition ligands in the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The HNK-1 reactive sulfoglucuronylneolacto (SGNL) glycolipids specifically support Schwann cell adhesion, suggesting the presence of a cell surface receptor specific for SGNL-oligosaccharides. We directly probed PNS membranes for receptors complementary to SGNL determinants using a synthetic radioligand consisting of radioiodinated serum albumin derivatized with multiple SGNL-oligosaccharides. A high-affinity, saturable, calcium-dependent binding site for this ligand was found in PNS myelin membranes. Binding activity was carbohydrate-specific (most potently inhibited by SGNL-lipids compared to other glycolipids) and PNS-specific (absent from comparable central nervous system membranes). The SGNL-specific binding activity on PNS membranes reported here may be involved in peripheral myelination or myelin stabilization.

This content is only available as a PDF.