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Manning, Joachim C.; Garcia Caballero, Gabriel; Ludwig, Anna-Kristin; Kaltner, Herbert; Sinowatz, Fred and Gabius, Hans-Joachim (2020): Glycobiology of developing chicken kidney: Profiling the galectin family and selected beta-galactosides. In: Anatomical Record-Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology

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The concept of the sugar code interprets the cellular glycophenotype as a rich source of information read by glycan-lectin recognition in situ. This study's aim is the comprehensive characterization of galectin expression by immunohistochemistry during chicken nephrogenesis along with mapping binding sites by (ga)lectin histochemistry. Light and two-color fluorescence microscopy were used. First, six plant/fungal lectins that are specific for galectin-binding parts of N- and O-glycans were applied. The spatiotemporally regulated distributions of these glycans in meso- and metanephros equip cells with potential binding partners for the galectins. Complete galectin profiling from HH Stage 20 (about 70-72 hr) onward revealed cell-, galectin-, and stage-dependent expression patterns. Representatives of all three types of modular architecture of the galectin family are detectable, and overlaps of signal distribution in light and two-color fluorescence microscopy illustrate a possibility for functional cooperation among them. Performing systematic galectin histochemistry facilitated comparisons between staining profiles of plant lectins and galectins. They revealed several cases for differences so that tissue lectins appear to be selective among the beta-galactosides. Notably, selectivity is also disclosed in intrafamily comparison. Thus, combining experimental series with plant and tissue lectins is a means to characterize target populations of glycans presented by cellular glycoconjugates for individual galectins. Our results document the presence and sophisticated level of elaboration among beta-galactosides and among the members of the family of galectins during organogenesis, using chicken galectins and kidney as model. Thus, they provide a clear guideline for functional assays using supramolecular tools, cells, and organ cultures.

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