. Group-B streptococci that possess a type-specific surface polysaccharide undergo phagocytosis only in the presence of antibodies to this, and complement. The snail forms a lectin that is specific for sialic acid; treatment with this promoted the phagocytosis of a group-B streptococcus of serotype Ia (strain O90) in the absence of opsonic antibodies. The effect of the lectin was dose-dependent and required the presence of complement. The specificity of the lectin reaction for sialic acid was proved by the inhibition of phagocytosis by bovine submaxillary mucin. The participation of complement in the reaction was confirmed by demonstrating that C3 was bound to the surface of lectin-treated cells.


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