The cell surface of Candida albicans is composed of a variety of polysaccharides such as glucan, chitin, and mannan. The first two components primarily provide structure, while the mannan, often covalently linked to protein, constitutes the major antigen of the organism. Mannoproteins also have enzymatic activity (acid protease) and ligand-receptor functions. The complement receptors of C. albicans appear to be mannoproteins that are required for the adherence of the organism to endothelial cells. This is certainly true of the CR3-like protein of C. albicans. Proof that the CR3 is the Candida receptor for endothelial cells is derived from two observations. First, mutants lacking CR3 activity are less adherent in vitro and, in fact, less virulent. Second, the ligand recognized by the CR3 receptor (C3bi) as well as anti-CR3 antibodies blocks adherence of the organism to endothelial cells. The CR2 of C. albicans appears to promote the adherence of the organism to plastic substrates. Unlike the CR2 of mammalian cells, the Candida CR2 recognizes ligands containing the RGD sequence of amino acids in addition to the C3d ligand, which does not contain the RGD sequence. There is uncertainty as to whether the Candida CR2 and CR3 are, in fact, different proteins. A mannoprotein has also been described as the adhesin for epithelial cells. In this case, the receptor has a lectinlike activity and recognizes fucose- or glucosamine-containing glycoproteins of epithelial cells, depending on the strain of C. albicans. The oligosaccharide component of the receptor is probably not involved in ligand recognition and may serve to stabilize the receptor. However, the oligosaccharide factor 6 epitope of mannan may also provide adhesin activity in the recognition of epithelial cells. Mannoproteins can be extracted from cells by a number of reagents. Zymolyase, for instance, tends to remove structural mannoproteins, which contain relatively little protein and are linked to glucan. Reagents such as dithiothreitol, on the other hand, tend to extract mannoproteins containing higher amounts of protein that appear to have receptor function. The mannoproteins of C. albicans are dynamically expressed and may be growth phase and growth form specific.