The S-type lectins have been shown to be components of mucosal scrapings, and in avian systems these lectins have been localized immunohistochemically to the mucosal surface and goblet cells of the intestine. The interaction of lectin specifically with purified mucin has not, however, been established. Quail intestinal mucin was purified by two subsequent isopycnic density-gradient centrifugations in CsCl and chromatography on Sepharose Cl-2B. Purified mucin, obtained from the void volume of the Sepharose column, was characterized by SDS/PAGE, amino acid and carbohydrate analyses, sensitivity to thiol reduction, and cross-reactivity with antibody preparations to rat and human intestinal mucins on Western blots. Antibody raised against purified quail mucin partially cross-reacts with purified rat, rabbit and human intestinal mucins, and specifically labels the mucosal surface and goblet cells of quail intestine by the immunoperoxidase technique. Protein eluted by lactose from an affinity matrix composed of quail intestinal mucin possessed the same molecular mass on SDS/PAGE as intestinal lectin and reacted on Western blots with a lectin-specific antibody. The data clearly demonstrate the co-localization of lectin and mucin in the quail intestine and also the ability of the lectin to specifically interact with the purified mucin, raising the question of the role of endogenous lectins in secretions.

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