SUMMARY: Studies of the Sendai virus haemagglutinin receptor on the human erythrocyte surface have confirmed that it involves 2 → 3 linked sialic acid. Because the primary specificity of neuraminidase is for this linkage, it is able to compete with the virus for the receptor, to which it adsorbs strongly at low temperatures. neuraminidase, whose principal specificity is for a sialic acid linkage other than 2 → 3, does not easily remove Sendai virus receptors, nor does it adsorb to the erythrocyte surface. A new definition of the term “receptor-destroying enzyme” is given which takes both enzyme and virus specificity into account, and a modified assay method is suggested in order to overcome the problems due to enzyme adsorption.


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