Concanavalin A receptors
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract The relationship between concanavalin A (ConA) receptors and the chemosensory behaviour of the ciliated protozoan Tetrahymena thermophila was studied using the peptide chemoattractants proteose peptone and fibroblast growth factor. Studies on the chemosensory behaviour in semisolid methylcellulose showed that 50 μg/ml ConA selectively inhibited the persistent element of swimming behaviour by reducing time runs of cells responding to proteose peptone from 12.2±4.5 min to 0.8±0.3 min. Methyl-alpha-D-mannoside, but not methyl-alpha-D-galactoside, abolished the inhibitory effect of ConA, suggesting that mannoside-containing ConA receptors are involved in maintaining a persistent swimming behaviour. Control experiments, carried out in liquids where persistent swimming is less important for cellular behaviour, showed that ConA did not affect proteose-peptone-induced chemoattraction under these conditions as measured by a two-phase assay for chemoattraction. Also, no inhibitory effect of ConA could be found on swimming rates when individual velocities of ConA-treated cells were determined. When tested in liquid chemoattraction assays, ConA was found to be a weak but significant chemoattractant. Studies of the cellular location of ConA receptors on the plasma membrane of starved cells showed an unequal distribution. A preferential clustering of receptors at the anterior end of the cell was observed when determined at high concentrations (100 μg/ml) of fluorescent ConA. Methyl-alpha-D-mannoside but not methyl-alpha-D-galactoside abolished the fluorescent ConA labelling, indicating a preferential clustering of these mannoside-containing receptors at the anterior part of the plasma membrane and cilia. At lower concentrations (25 μg/ml), FITC-ConA produced more general labelling of the entire cell membrane. The results suggest that ConA receptors are necessary for the persistent element of swimming and that binding of ConA to its receptors interferes with processes related to signal transduction rather than by limiting the free movement of cilia required for locomotion. The gradient of receptors seen at high FITC-ConA concentrations may be important for a putative spatial chemosensory mechanism, i.e. chemotaxis.
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