SUMMARY: Two major proteoglycan constituents (designated F1 and F2) of the cell wall of were separated by ion-exchange chromatography from a crude carbohydrate-rich extract (GMP), and investigated for their chemical and molecular composition, antigenicity and immunomodulatory properties in cultures of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). Both fractions consisted predominantly of Periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) and concanavalin A (Con A)-reactive material consisting of >90% mannose, 3-5% protein and small amounts of phosphorus; each was recognized by an anti- rabbit serum as well as by a monoclonal antibody (mAb AF1) directed against an oligosaccharide epitope present on the fungal cell surface. When F1 and F2 were subjected to SDS-PAGE, transblotted and stained with enzyme-conjugated mAb AF1 or Con A, most of the antibody or lectin bound to high molecular mass (> 200 kDa) polydisperse material, some of which was present in F2 (as in the starting GMP extract) but absent in F1. This difference was also observed in PAS-stained gels of the two fractions. The F2, but not the F1, constituent was as active as the unfractionated GMP extract in inducing lymphoproliferation, production of the cytokines interleukin-2 and interferon-γ, and generation of cytotoxicity against a natural-killer-sensitive target cell line (K562). These immunomodulatory properties were, like those possessed by GMP, protease-sensitive and heat-stable. Treatment of PBMC cultures with a modulatory anti-T-cell receptor antibody abolished the lymphoproliferation induced by GMP and F2 but not that induced by phytohaemagglutinin, showing that the mannoprotein materials of acted through interaction with the antigen receptor complex.


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