Pneumocystis carinii: Surface reactive carbohydrates detected by lectin probes

Melanie T. Cushion, Jamie A. DeStefano, Peter D. Walzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Pneumocystis carinii obtained from rat lungs (RLH) and in vitro culture (RTC) were reacted with a panel of 14 fluorescein isothiocyanate conjugated lectins. Percentage fluorescence and fluorescent intensity were determined for both trophic and cyst forms. All RLH and RTC derived organisms bound strongly concanavalin A (Con A), and wheat germ agglutinin (WGA). However, differences in soybean agglutinin (SBA) binding between RLH and RTC organisms was observed. Different subsets of the organism bound lectins from Griffonia simplicifolia I, Maclura pomifera, and Bauhinia purpurea, indicating heterogeneity in the surface carbohydrates within each of the RLH and RTC populations. Eight lectins reacted very weakly or not at all: Dolichos bifiorus, Arachis hypogaea, Griffonia simplicifolia I-β4, Solanum tuberosum, Ulex europeus, Griffonia simplicifolia II, Viscum album, and Limax flavus. The results indicate that P. carinii trophic and cyst forms have surface constituents containing mannose, N-acetylglucosamine and N-acetylgalactosamine as the predominant carbohydrates. Molecules resembling sialic acid and β-galactose are absent or inaccessible. The surface glycoconjugates identified in these studies may play a role in the adherent properties of P. carinii.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-147
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Parasitology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbohydrates
  • Lectins
  • Opportunistic pathogen
  • Parasite
  • Pneumocystis carinii
  • Pneumonia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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