Re: Collegen III

From:"J. A. Kiernan" <>

On Fri, 20 Oct 2000, P. Emry wrote:

> I have a grad student who wants to look at collegen III.
> It is like the blind leading the blind here.  
> Any help would be appreciated.

  Collagen III exists as fine fibrils and is the principal
  component of classical reticulin. It's also present in 
  basement membranes, but these also contain non-fibrillary
  collagen IV. The only way to stain only collagen III is 
  immunohistochemically, with a well characterized primary
  antibody. Traditional connective tissue stains may have
  a place in your student's research, as may the many and
  wonderful methods of carbohydrate histochemistry,
  especially affinity methods using lectins that attach to
  terminal alpha-D-glucosyl units. Concanavalin A is an
  example of such a lectin. All collagen is PAS-positive,
  largely by virtue of the associated glucose. 

  Whatever you do, don't pass on this email to your graduate
  student. Tell her/him to go to the library and find a book
  about collagen. There are many, and some are very good. Tell
  him/her also to get hold of a Histochemistry textbook. The
  biggest and best is Pearse (3 vols) but there are plenty of
  others. A graduate student is doing the right thing asking 
  for help, but it's an important part of the training to 
  find things out from secondary and primary sources. Histonet
  is a tertiary source. A textbook is secondary. The primary
  sources, in science, are papers in peer-reviewed journals.

  End of sermon on how to advise graduate students.

 John A. Kiernan,
 Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology,
 The University of Western Ontario,
 LONDON,  Canada  N6A 5C1


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