Glycosylation and immunocytochemistry of binucleate cells in pronghorn (Antilocapra americana, Antilocapridae) show features of both Giraffidae and Bovidae

07 Dec 2017

Although the pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) resembles an antelope, its nearest relatives are the giraffe and okapi. In this study we have examined the placentae of 6 pronghorns using lectin- and immunocytochemistry to identify giraffid and bovid features. Binucleate cells (BNC) of the placenta exhibited features intermediate between those of the giraffe and bovine; Dolichos biflorus agglutinin binding – strong in the bovine BNC and absent in the giraffe – was evident in only a subpopulation of BNC while binding to blood vessels, as in the giraffe. Binding of Phytolacca americana agglutinin resembled that of the giraffe and okapi whereas many other glycans were found in all four clades. PAG antigens were similar to bovine and okapi but not giraffe. In summary, although the pronghorn outwardly resembles an antelope, placental BNC show giraffid features. Although each clade has its own individual characteristics, there are far more similarities than differences between them, emphasizing the common ancestry of all four clades.