Enzyme and Antigen
  • P. M. Colman
Part of the The Viruses book series (VIRS)


The discovery of enzymatic activity on the surface of influenza virus is attributable to Hirst (1942), who observed that it was not possible to reagglutinate red blood cells (RBC) after they had once been agglutinated by the virus. The modification to the cells resulting from the first contact with virus is now known to be the specific removal of sialic acid (N-acetylneuraminic acid) from glycoconjugates on the RBC surface by the viral neuraminidase. The enzyme action of the neuraminidase destroys the receptors for the viral hemagglutinin. Bacterial neuraminidases, as found for example in culture filtrates of Vibrio cholerae also render RBC nonagglutinable by influenza virus (Burnet and Stone, 1947).


Influenza Virus Influenza Virus Neuraminidase Influenza Virus Haemagglutinin Sialie Acid 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. M. Colman
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of BiotechnologyCSIROParkvilleAustralia

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