The two lactose-binding lectins found in adult chicken intestine, chicken-lactose-lectin-1 (CLL-1) and chicken-lactose-lectin-11 (CLL-11), were localized within the vesicles of the mucin-secreting goblet cells by indirect immunofluorescence and immunoperoxidase staining methods. Attention was concentrated on CLL-11 which is 200 time more abundant than CLL-1 in adult intestine. The localization of CLL-11 in secretory vesicles, combined with its demonstration on the intestinal epithelial surface by immune staining methods and by specific elution with lactose, suggested that at least a portion of the CLL-11 in the vesicles was secreted by the goblet cells and then became associated with the mucosal surface. In support of this, treatment of isolated intestinal strips with a cholinergic agent, bethanechol (10(-7 M) produced a small but significant increase in the amount of CLL-11 that could be eluted from their surface with lactose. Secretion of lectin may occur in conjunction with mucin because both are localized in the secretory vesicles and CLL-1 and CLL-11 apparently bind to purified chicken intestinal mucin, which is a potent inhibitor of their hemagglutination activities. The mucin is six orders of magnitude more potent than lactose as a hemagglutination inhibitor of CLL-1 or CLL-11 on a molar basis, and three orders of magnitude more potent when expressed per mole of hexose. These results suggest that CLL-11, and perhaps CLL-1, are secreted from the goblet cells along with mucin. They may function in the organization of mucin for secretion and/or in its association with the intestinal mucosal surface.

This content is only available as a PDF.