Glycan localization within the human interphotoreceptor matrix and photoreceptor inner and outer segments

Paul N. Bishop, Mike Boulton, David Mcleod, Robert W. Stoddart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


Glycoconjugates are likely to be of fundamental importance in the complex interactions between photoreceptors and the retinal pigment epithelium, but few have been characterized, especially in human tissue. As a preliminary step towards determining their biological functions in health and disease, a lectin-based histochemical study of the glycan expression of human outer retina was performed on glutaraldehyde-fixed, semi-thin, resin-embedded sections. The interphotoreceptor matrix and photoreceptor plasma-lemmata expressed complex bisected and non-bisected biantennary and/or triantennary N-glycans. In addition, both the rod and cone outer segments bound strongly Galanthus nivalis agglutinin (which binds terminal Manα1, 3Man-) and the rod outer segments bound selectively the isolectin II of Bandeiraea simplicifolia (which binds terminal GlcNAc-). The cilia of the rods and cones were labelled selectively with Glycine max agglutinin after sialidase pretreatment. Four putative glycan outer sequences were identified within the interphotoreceptor matrix: (i) sialylated glycans with subterminal GaINAcα1, 3GaINAc-sequences; (ii) a sialylated type with subterminal N-acetyl-lactosamine residues; (iii) Galβ1, 3GalNAcα1- residues which were substituted with sialic acid except in the cone matrix sheath; (iv) GalNAcα1, 6Galβ1- residues which were substituted in part with sialic acid. The sialic acid expression throughout was predominantly of the 2, 3-linked form with lesser amounts of 2, 6-linkage, and rod-associated structures (including the surrounding interphotoreceptor matrix) were labelled more strongly with the sialic acid-binding lectins than cone-associated structures (including the cone matrix sheath).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-412
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 1993


  • Interphotoreceptor matrix
  • Lectin
  • Oligosaccharide
  • Photoreceptor
  • Retina

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry

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