A rabbit antibody to the neuraminidase of the infective form of Trypanosoma cruzi identifies a subpopulation of trypomastigotes that expresses neuraminidase. Complement-mediated lysis by the antibody selectively destroys 30 to 40% of the trypomastigotes, supporting the conclusion that the immune antibody binds to a subset of parasites. The trypomastigotes that react with the immune antibody are the only ones expressing neuraminidase because the trypomastigotes that survive complement-mediated lysis are depleted of neuraminidase activity. The enzyme seems to negatively modulate infection in vitro, since infection of host cells by trypomastigotes is enhanced when neuraminidase activity is blocked by antineuraminidase antibody; infection is also enhanced when the infecting trypomastigotes have been depleted of parasites that express neuraminidase. Addition of exogenous neuraminidase (from Vibrio cholerae) to trypomastigotes treated with immune antibody, reverts the enhancement observed when infection takes place in the presence of antibody to T. cruzi neuraminidase only. Addition of V. cholerae neuraminidase in the absence of immune antibodies has no effect on infection. These results show that T. cruzi neuraminidase depresses infection and also suggest that sialic acid is involved in the parasite-host cell interaction. The antibody to T. cruzi neuraminidase recognizes on the surface of live trypomastigotes a set of proteins with high m.w. (165,000 to 200,000) and also two antigens of 79,000 to 82,000. The high m.w. proteins appear to be associated with neuraminidase activity as shown by renaturation experiments of released enzyme fractionated on a sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel.