Human polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) were incubated at 0 °C with ferritin-conjugated ricin and warmed to 37 °C to induce capping of the ricin-binding sites. The PMNs were then allowed to phagocytose yeast or Staphylococcus epidermidis for 15 min, and processed for electron microscopy. Phagocytic uptake, granule fusion, and the fate of lectin-bound membrane were quantified by morphometry. Ricin-capped PMNs phagocytosed as extensively as untreated PMNs. Particles were ingested almost exclusively with a lectin-free portion of the plasmalemma. Fusion of granules with phagocytic vacuoles was not affected by ricin-in-duced capping. This indicates that ricin-binding sites are not involved in particle recognition and uptake.

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