Flow cytometric analyses of lectin binding to Pneumocystis carinii surface carbohydrates

J. A. De Stefano, L. S. Trinkle, P. D. Walzer, M. T. Cushion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Pneumocystis carinii obtained from infected rat lung homogenates was incubated with fluorescein isothiocyanate-conjugated lectins, counterstained with the nuclear stain, propidium iodide (PI), and analyzed by dual parameter histograms for lectin-associated green and PI-associated red fluorescence using a fluorescence-activated cell sorter. The presence of glucose/mannose moieties was evidenced by the binding of all organisms to concanavalin A and Wisteria floribunda. From the lectin group specific for N-acetyl-D- glucosamine, P. carinii reacted strongly with wheat germ agglutinin and less intensely with Solanum tuberosum. Reaction with lectins specific for N- acetyl-D-galactosamine/galactose was variable, probably reflecting the secondary binding affinities of the lectins used. Soybean agglutinin, Bauhinia purpurea agglutinin, and Maclura pomifera agglutinin reacted moderately, whereas Dolichos biflorus agglutinin, and Griffonia simplicifolia I reacted less avidly. The organisms reacted partially with Ulex europaeus agglutinin, a lectin specific for fucose, and did not react well with Arachis hypogaea, Viscum album agglutinin, and Griffonia simplicifolia Iβ4, lectins specific for galactose. A very weak fluorescent signal was detected with Limax flavus agglutinin, suggesting little or no sialic acid was present. All lectin-binding reactions were confirmed for specificity by inhibition with the relevant carbohydrates. Flow cytometric analysis of lung-derived Pneumocystis organisms stained with fluorescent surface and nuclear dyes provides a rapid method for characterization of large parasite populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-280
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Parasitology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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