Changes of lectin staining patterns in the Golgi stack during cell differentiation were examined in the ameloblasts of developing rat molar tooth germs, using HRP-labeled lectins: Canavalia ensiformis (Con A), Griffonia simplicifolia I (GS-I), Glycine max (SBA), Ulex europeus I (UEA-I), Triticum vulgaris (WGA), and Arachis hypogaea (PNA). The Golgi stacks of the inner enamel epithelial cells and the presecretory ameloblasts were stained with the lectins, although the staining strength and pattern varied among the stacks with each lectin. In some cases, the reaction products for the lectins were observed in most or all saccules of the Golgi stack. In the secretory ameloblasts, however, discrete staining patterns of the Golgi stack were found for each lectin. The reaction products deposited in definite saccules of the Golgi stack of the secretory ameloblast, especially for UEA-I and PNA which stained only the trans Golgi saccules of the stack. The reaction-positive saccules distributed more extensively in the Golgi stack of the inner enamel epithelial cell and the presecretory ameloblast than in the secretory ameloblast. These findings suggest that the Golgi stack is not fully compartmentalized in the inner enamel epithelial cell and the presecretory ameloblast. It is proposed that, in the differentiating ameloblast, various glycosyltransferases may coexist in most saccules of the Golgi stack. © 1993 Wiley-Liss, Inc.