The Glycosylation Pattern of Secretory Granules in Binucleate Trophoblast Cells is Highly Conserved in Ruminants

K. Klisch, F. B P Wooding, C. J P Jones

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The binucleate trophoblast cells (BNCs) in the ruminant placenta are a unique feature of this taxon. These cells produce several secretory proteins and transfer these across the fetomaternal barrier into the dam. We used lectin histochemistry with a panel of 24 lectins to characterise the glycosylation pattern of BNC secretory granules in a variety of ruminants. Seven species out of three ruminant families were thus investigated: greater malayan chevrotain (Tragulidae); fallow deer, red deer, chinese water deer (Cervidae); and domestic goat, springbok, impala (Bovidae). BNC granules in all species studied strongly expressed tri-/tetraantennary complex N-glycans and bisecting N-acetylglucosamine [GlcNAc] as shown by binding of leuco- and erythroagglutins of Phaseolus vulgaris respectively. The presence of terminal N-acetylgalactosamine [GalNAc]) in BNC granules is shown by intense staining with lectins from Dolichos biflorus, Vicia villosa and Wisteria floribunda. Terminal galactose or GalNAc was also present, bound by Glycine max agglutinin. Treatment of slides with neuraminidase strongly intensified staining of Erythrina cristagalli lectin (ECA) to terminal lactosamine in all species studied; this was otherwise absent except in goat. Sambucus nigra-1 lectin bound to BNC granules in all species except in Impala, indicating the presence of abundant alpha2,6 linked sialic acid. These results indicate that these unusual highly branched glycans, with bisecting GlcNAc and terminal GalNAc are a general feature of BNC granules in Ruminants, including the most basal Tragulid branch. It therefore appears that the specific glycosylation pattern of BNC granules evolved early in ruminant phylogenesis, together with the appearance of BNC. The conserved glycan structure in BNC secretory granules indicates that this pattern of glycosylation is likely to be of considerable functional importance for the secretory glycoproteins of ruminant BNC. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)11-17
    Number of pages6
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


    • Artiodactyla
    • Evolution
    • Lectin


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