Two techniques have been modified to provide simple means for the identification of molecules which bind concanavalin A (Con A). Crossed immunoelectrophoresis was altered by replacing antibody with Con A, and receptors were identified by the precipitin arcs which they produced. Con A, tagged with fluorescein isothiocyanate, was also diffused into prefixed sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS)-polyacrylamide gels, and additional receptors identified by fluorescence. More than 35 molecules in the plasma membranes of the cellular slime mold Dictyostelium discoideum which bind Con A were identified with these techniques. At least 12 of these diminish and 12 increase in importance as receptors during differentiation of the cells from the vegetative to the preculmination stage of development. In the course of these experiments, it was possible to confirm the presence of the galactose-binding protein discoidin, in the plasma membrane, by electrophoresing membrane proteins into an agarose gel. This lectin regains its sugar-binding activity after denaturation and electrophoresis in SDS.

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