The use of avidin-gold complex for light microscopic localization of lectin receptors

E. Skutelsky*, V. Goyal, J. Alroy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the present study, we have investigated the use of avidin-gold complex (AG) as a possible cytochemical marker for visualizing and identifying lectin receptors in deparaffinized tissue sections. Monodispersed gold sols of 15 nm average diameter were prepared by sodium citrate reduction. The AG complex was prepared with highly purified egg-white avidin (avidin-D). Deparaffinized sections of cat duodenum were labeled with five different biotinylated lectins, then were washed and stained for 1-2 h with AG. Intensification of the gold staining was achieved by a modification of the silver-enhancement method. For each lectin, the labeling properties of the avidin-gold-silver (AGS) were compared with those of the avidin-biotin-peroxidase (ABC) and the lectin-gold (LG) methods. We found the lectin binding pattern demonstrated by the AG method to be similar to that of the ABC. The AG localization of the carbohydrate residues is more precise, compared to the peroxidase reaction due to lack of diffusion of the gold marker. Labeling with AGS resulted in improved staining over the AG method, similar to the staining intensity of the ABC. In addition, the two-step AG method provided more intense staining than the direct one-step procedure of the lectin-gold labeling. In conclusion, the use of the AGS method for histochemical visualization of lectin receptors requires a simple two-step procedure which allows highly accurate localization of tissue glycoconjugates. It entails using only a single gold-ligand complex applicable to any biotinylated lectin regardless of its biochemical nature. It can also be easily adapted for use with other biotinylated ligands such as antibodies, hormones, toxins, etc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-295
Number of pages5
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1987


Dive into the research topics of 'The use of avidin-gold complex for light microscopic localization of lectin receptors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this