Use of pre-embedding ultrastructural immunocytochemistry in the localization of a secretory product and membrane proteins in cultured prolactin cells

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Abstract

A pre-embedding immunoperoxidase procedure performed directly on cultured cells in situ was used to localize several intracellular antigens at the electron-microscope level. With this procedure, we compared the effect of various fixatives, with or without saponin permeabilization, on the immunoreactivity of a secretory product (prolactin) and membrane proteins in cultured prolactin cells. Prolactin was detected within all compartments of its intracellular secretory pathway. Membrane antigens of the rough endoplasmic reticulum, the Golgi apparatus, and lysosomes were localized in distinct intracellular compartments. These immunocytochemical results are discussed in relationship to others in the literature that describe the localization of similar types of antigens. The technique, here described, which preserves ultrastructural detail and antigenicity, should be applicable for the localization of other intracellular antigens in cultured cells.

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