Binding of Ricinus communis I lectin to the muscle cell plasma membrane in diseased muscle.
The lectins wheat germ agglutinin and limulus polyphemus were used as cytochemical probes to study the ultrastructural localization of sialic acid at the cell surface of rat muscle fibers. In addition cytochemical studies employing strontium as an electron-dense marker were also carried out to investigate cation binding sites at the muscle cell surface. The results showed binding of the lectins to the glycocalyx, caveolae and the basal lamina of the muscle fibers. These binding sites matched the ones observed in the cytochemical studies using strontium as a marker. Based on these observations we suggest that the glycocalyx, caveolae and the basal lamina of the muscle fiber may be involved in the binding of Ca++ and that significant amounts of Ca++ may be normally present at the muscle cell surface.