SUMMARY: All of 108 strains of that synthesized K88 antigen caused mannose-resistant and eluting (m.r.e.) haemagglutination of guinea-pig erythrocytes in a microhaemagglutination test; none of 23 representative strains did so in a tile haemagglutination test which requires firmer binding. It was concluded that the K88 antigen was the m.r.e. haemagglutinin since (i) only K88-positive strains caused m.r.e. haemagglutination (ii) K88-positive strains grown at 18°C failed to produce both haemagglutinin and K88 antigen (iii) haemagglutinating activity was not detected in K88-negative mutants of a K88-positive enteropathogenic strain, and (iv) extracts of K88 antigen possessed haemagglutinating activity which could not be separated from the K88 antigen by the fractionation and serological procedures examined. Haemagglutination appears to resemble the attachment of K88-positive bacteria to the gut wall in enteric disease and the haemagglutination test may assist in characterizing this mechanism.


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