We studied subcellular localization of saccharide moieties in cultured normal and malignant cells fixed in paraformaldehyde and treated with a nonionic detergent, using lectins specific for various surgar residues as probes in fluorescence microscopy. In normal cells, concanavalin A and Lens culinaris agglutinin, specific for mannose-rich carbohydrate cores in glycoproteins, labeled the endoplasmic reticulum as a wide perinuclear region. Other lectins, on the other hand, stained the Golgi apparatus as a juxtanuclear reticular structure. A similar compartmentalization was also seen in all malignant cells studied, although the Golgi apparatus in these cells was distinctly vesicular in appearance. Our results indicate that saccharide moieties in both normal and malignant cells are similarly compartmentalized, and thus speak in favor of a unidirectional subcellular flow for both membrane and secreted glycoconjugates.

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