Maximal binding (Bmax) of the lectin, wheat germ agglutinin, by small intestinal brush border membrane is significantly reduced in rats infected with Trichinella spiralis. Wheat germ agglutinin specificity is for N-acetylglucosamine and sialic acid. Whereas total hexosamine and N-acetylglucosaminidase-labile N-acetylglucosamine were comparable in membranes from uninfected as compared with infected rats, the total sialic acid content and neuraminidase-released sialic acid were significantly higher in BBM from uninfected hosts. N-Acetylglucosaminidase treatment of membranes reduced Bmaxfor wheat germ agglutinin in both hosts. Neuraminidase treatment reduced Bmaxin uninfected hosts, but tended to increase it in infected rats. Membranes from uninfected rats incorporated more N-acetylglucosamine from UDP-N-[14C]acetylglucosamine into oligosaccharide-lipid than did membranes from infected hosts. However, lipid and protein fractions were labeled at the same rate in both sets of membranes. Sialic acid was incorporated into protein at a slightly faster rate in brush border membrane from uninfected rats, indicative of a higher level of sialotransferase activity. These results suggest that the reduction in Bmaxfor wheat germ agglutinin in gut epithelial cell membranes from infected rats is related to a reduced level of sialic acid available for lectin binding as well as specific interactions between N-acetylglucosamine and sialic acid. © 1983.
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