PMID: 58928May 1, 1976

Electron histochemistry and ultrastructural localization of carbohydrate-containing substances in the sheath of Volvox

The Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry : Official Journal of the Histochemistry Society
M D McCracken, W J Barcellona


The location and characteristics of carbohydrate-containing structures within the intact sheath of Volvox were studied by 3,3'-diaminobenzidine tetrahydrochloride-osmium, colloidal iron, colloidal thorium, ruthenium red and periodic acid-silver methenamine staining. The sheath consists of external and internal fibrillar layers separated by a tripartite structure. The external layer reacts positively with 3,3'-diaminobenzidine tetrahydrochloride, colloidal iron, colloidal thorium and ruthenium red, indicating that it contains acid mucosaccharides. Staining in the external layer is abolished by Ba(OH)2 treatment. The tripartite structure and internal fibrillar layer contain periodic acid reactive groups which do not occur in the external layer. Under certain conditions, reactions between the cationic dyes and the internal material were also observed. It is postulated that the internal matrix of the sheath contains glycoproteins or a mixture of acid mucosaccharides and glycoproteins. Possible functions of the sheath material are discussed.

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