Summary: Blastospores of were readily agglutinated by Concanavalin A (Con A) owing to the specific binding of this lectin to the mannan receptors of the cell surface. When mannan was extracted from the cell wall by neutral buffers, alkali and acid, the agglutination was decreased or lost depending on the degree of extraction. A relatively mild alkali treatment was sufficient to derange the multilayered wall organization and transform it into a uniform, medium-density structure having about the same thickness as the untreated wall. After a more drastic extraction, all the electron-dense components of the wall were lost, the residual, alkali-insoluble wall fabric being completely electron-transparent and of about the same thickness as the inner wall region of untreated cells.

Thiol-reducing agents like mercaptoethanol or dithiothreitol also extracted wall materials, an effect which was enhanced by pronase. After dithiothreitol-pronase treatment, the outer wall layers were removed but the inner wall region was not apparently damaged and some electron-dense components remained. None of these treatments significantly affected blasto-spore agglutination by Con A - this was reduced (but not abolished) only by the sequential action of pronase and helicase, which led to sphaeroplast formation. These sphaeroplasts showed a varied amount of residual wall consisting of evenly distributed, fibrogranular components.

Two main conclusions were drawn from these results: (i) mannan polymers extend throughout the wall of the blastospore of (ii) the layering of the wall, as seen by ordinary fixation and staining for electron microscopy, essentially reflects the distribution of the various alkali-soluble complexes, at different levels, both and the rigid, glucan-chitin matrix.


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