Endogenous lectin from terminally differentiated epidermal cells

Miriam M. Brysk, Srinivasan Rajaraman, Philip Penn, Shu Jen Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


We isolated a concanavalin A (Con-A)-binding glycoprotein from human stratum corneum by nonionic detergent extraction, lectin affinity chromatography, and preparative gel electrophoresis. This glycoprotein migrates as a single band at 40 kilodaltons at sodium-dodecyl-sulfate gel electrophoresis with or without the presence of 2-mercaptoethanol. It was shown to have a heterogeneous distribution between pH 5.6 and 7.6 by isoelectric focusing. The glycoprotein is histidine rich (10.4%) but is distinct from other histidine-rich proteins (epidermal filaggrin and the histidine-rich glycoprotein from serum). It does not bind to lectins specific for L-fucose or α-D-galactose. We prepared a monospecific polyclonal antibody to the 40-kilodalton glycoprotein; at the ultrastructural level, it cytoimmunolocalizes exclusively to the membranes of the stratum corneum. A unique feature of the glycoprotein is that it is an endogenous lectin: it hemagglutinates trypsinized and gluteraldehyde-fixed rabbit erythrocytes. The inhibition of its hemagglutination was found to be greatest with amino sugars, down to a saccharide concentration of 10−5 mM. Such a high affinity of binding at the cell surface suggests that this glycoprotein is a major carbohydrate-binding, cross-linking molecule that holds adjacent corneocytes together in the stratum corneum. We hypothesize that this lectin plays a role in the adhesion and desquamation of the stratum corneum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)230-237
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1986

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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