The surface saccharide composition of collagenase-dispersed pancreatic cells from adult guinea pig and rat glands was examined by using eight lectins and their ferritin conjugates: Concanavalin A (ConA); Lens culinaris (LCL); Lotus tetragonolobus (LTL); Ricinus communis agglutinins I and II (RCA I, RCA II); Soybean agglutinin (SBA); Ulex europeus lectin (UEL); and wheat germ agglutinin (WGA). Binding studies of iodinated lectins and lectin-ferritin conjugates both revealed one population of saturable, high-affinity receptor sites on the total cell population (approximately 95% acinar cells). Electron microscopy, however, revealed differences in lectin-ferritin binding to the plasmalemma of acinar, centroacinar, and endocrine cells. Whereas acinar cells bound heavily all lectin conjugates, endocrine and centroacinar cells were densely labeled only by ConA, LCL, WGA, and RCA I, and possessed few receptors for LTL, UEL, and SBA. Endocrine and centroacinar cells could be differentiated from each other by using RCA II, which binds to centroacinar cells but not to endocrine cells. Some RCA II receptors appeared to be glycolipids because they were extracted by ethanol and chloroform-methanol in contrast to WGA receptors which resisted solvent treatment but were partly removed by papain digestion. RCA I receptors were affected by neither treatment. The apparent absence of receptors for SBA on endocrine and centroacinar cells, and for RCA II on endocrine cells, was reversed by neuraminidase digestion, which suggested masking of lectin receptors by sialic acid. The absence of LTL and UEL receptors on endocrine and centroacinar cells was not reversed by neuraminidase. We suggest that the differential lectin-binding patterns observed on acinar, centroacinar, and endocrine cells from the adult pancreas surface-carbohydrate-developmental programs expressed during morphogenesis and cytodifferentiation of the gland.

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