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Immuno-ultrastructural localization of involucrin in squamous epithelium and cultured keratinocytes.


Involucrin immunoreactivity was localized ultrastructurally with protein A--gold in epidermis and cultured keratinocytes embedded in Lowicryl K4M. In the skin, immunoreactivity was found predominantly in cells of the granular layer and inner stratum corneum. The label was associated primarily with amorphous cytoplasmic material and especially keratohyaline granules. Some labeling was observed at the cell periphery, but little with keratin filaments. Tissue samples examined without aldehyde fixation showed relatively greater labeling in the outer stratum corneum than fixed tissue. In cultured cells, the labeling was also associated primarily with cytoplasmic granular material and to a lesser extent with the cell periphery. Upon treatment with the ionophore X537A, keratin filaments were found in aggregated arrays and the plasma membranes became convoluted. That involucrin immunoreactivity persisted in the cytoplasm in cultured cells and in vivo after cross-linking occurs could account for considerable isopeptide bonding detected in epidermal keratin fractions and indicates that not all the involucrin participates in envelope formation.

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