cells were treated with alkali and acid to extract preferentially the cell wall α-mannan. Cells were recovered at three stages, as extraction proceeded from mild to more extensive: Alk-1, Alk-2 and Alk + Acid. Yeast adhesion to human epithelial cells was then examined with an in-vitro adherence assay. Yeasts from all three stages of extraction adhered in significantly lower numbers to buccal mucosal cells than did unextracted yeasts. Adhesion was as low for Alk-1 cells as for those submitted to more complete mannan extraction. When yeast cells from all three stages were treated with Concanavalin A (Con A), a lectin probe with strong affinity for yeast α-mannans, and then subjected to the adherence assay, there was no significant change in adhesion. When yeast agglutinability by Con A was examined in tests with treated and untreated yeast cells, abundant agglutination occurred only with the untreated cells. However, Alk-1 cells, though lacking in adhesive capacity towards mucosal cells, showed significant agglutination. The results suggest that candidal adhesion is mediated by an alkali-soluble, mannan-containing moiety(ies) which appears to be lost early in the extraction process. Blockage of this moiety by Con A inhibits the adhesion of unextracted cells. Extracted cells lack this moiety but still possess enough structural mannan for Con A recognition and agglutination.


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