Kupffer cells isolated from the rat liver are able to bind neuraminidase-treated rat erythrocytes via a D-galactose-specific receptor on the cell surface. Binding of desialylated erythrocytes was inhibited by several mono- and oligo-saccharides related to D-galactose, but not by unrelated sugars. However, after phosphorylation at position 6 D-glucose was as good an inhibitor as D-galactose. Two synthetic glycoproteins, D-galactosyl-albumin and, at a higher concentration, D-glucosyl-albumin, strongly inhibit cell contacts. Lectin-mediated binding of desialylated erythrocytes is dependent on the presence of Ca2'ons, but independent of ATP formation and cell motility. It is concluded that binding of desialylated erythrocytes by rat Kupffer cells is mediated by a Ca2-dependent D-galactosyl/D-glucosyl-recognition system.

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