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Selective binding of colloidal gold-protein conjugates to epidermal phosphorus-rich keratohyaline granules and cornified cells

, : Selective binding of colloidal gold-protein conjugates to epidermal phosphorus-rich keratohyaline granules and cornified cells. Journal of Investigative Dermatology 87(6): 737-740

Colloidal gold solutions conjugated with staphylococcal protein A (SpA) are widely used in high-resolution immunocytochemical studies to visualize antibodies bound at antigenic sites. Here we report that colloidal gold solutions conjugated with SpA, bovine serum albumin (BSA), or gelatin bind selectively to structures in glutaraldehyde-fixed, plastic-embedded epidermis of rabbit, mouse, and human. Two types of keratohyaline granules are present in epidermis, a phosphorus-rich (PR) and a sulphur-rich (SR) type. The PR keratohyaline granules were strongly labeled with gold particles, whereas SR keratohyaline granules or other structures in the living cells of epidermis were unlabeled. The PR keratohyaline granules are assumed to be precursors of the matrix protein of cornified cells, and intense gold labeling occurred over the lower layer of cornified cells (i.e., stratum lucidum). More superficial cornified cells were weakly labeled or unlabeled. The gold labeling pattern was identical whether SpA, BSA, or gelatin was used to stabilize the colloidal gold solution. The mechanism of binding of protein-conjugated gold to PR keratohyaline granules and matrix protein of cornified cells is not clear. It is speculated that the charged gold particles are not completely coated by the stabilizing protein, allowing for an electrostatic interaction with charged proteins in sections of cells.


PMID: 2431071

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