Immunocytological techniques were developed to localize the plant lectin, wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), in the tissues and cells of wheat plants. In a previous study we demonstrated with a radioimmunoassay that the lectin is present in wheat embryos and adult plants both in the roots and at the base of the stem. We have now found, using rhodamine, peroxidase, and ferritin-labeled secondary antibodies, that WGA is located in cells and tissues that establish direct contact with the soil during germination and growth of the plant In the embryo, WGA is found in the surface layer of the radicle, the first adventitious roots, the coleoptile, and the scutellum. Although found throughout the coleorhiza and epiblast, it is at its highest levels within the cells at the surface of these organs. In adult plants, WGA is located only in the caps and tips of adventitious roots. Reaction product for WGA was not visualized in embryonic or adult leaves or in other tissues of adult plants. At the subcellular level, WGA is located at the periphery of protein bodies, within electron-translucent regions of the cytoplasm, and at the cell wall-protoplast interface. Since WGA is found at potential infection sites and is known to have fungicidal properties, it may function in the defense against fungal pathogens.

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