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Enhanced agglutination of all the erythrocytes when only half are trypsinised

Naturevolume 272pages636638 (1978) | Download Citation



ENHANCED lectin-mediated agglutination following alteration of cells by transformation or protease treatment is well documented1,2. However, the mechanism underlying these observations remains obscure. Recent evidence suggests that enhanced agglutinability of erythrocytes treated with pro-teolytic enzymes, neuraminidase or both, may be the result of reduced surface charge and/or loss of sterically hindering peptides and glycopeptides3. We wondered whether the alteration in a part of the cell population would be sufficient to enhance the agglutinability of the entire cell population with concanavalin A (con A) and soybean agglutinin (SBA). We report here that the extent, and to a slightly lesser degree, the rate of lectin-mediated agglutination of untrypsinised erythrocytes mixed with equal volumes of trypsinised erythrocytes closely parallel the values obtained for trypsinised cells alone. We conclude that the proteolytic alteration of only some of the erythrocytes is sufficient to promote enhanced lectin-mediated agglutination of all cells when mixed with equal numbers of native cells. A similar phenomenon holds true for native cells when mixed with neuraminidase-treated cells.

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  1. Department of Pathology, University of Colorado Medical Center, Denver, Colorado, 80262



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