Mucus samples from rainbow trout skin with or without infections by Gyrodactylus derjavini were tested for the presence of lectins reacting with mannose, galactose and lactose. The samples inhibited the binding of biotinylated lectins (from Canavalia ensiformis, Artocarpus integrifolia and Erythrina corallodendron, respectively) to microtitre plates with covalently bound carbohydrates (mannopyranoside, galactopyranoside and lactose, respectively). However, the inhibition of C. ensiformis and A. integrifolia lectins was slightly greater when mucus from infected (but recovering) fish was used, suggesting an increase of mannose and galactose binding lectins in fish skin exposed to parasites. As mannose, galactose and lactose are present on the glycocalyx of Gyrodactylus derjavini, it is suggested that lectins could play a dual role in interactions between fish hosts and their monogenean parasites. Thus, recognition between parasite and host and also host responses towards parasite infections could both, at least partly, involve carbohydrate-lectin binding.
(Accepted November 23 2000)