[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mannan-binding lectin (MBL) mediates innate immune responses, such as activation of the complement lectin pathway and phagocytosis, to help fight infections. In the present study, employing recombinant forms of human MBL (rMBL), the role of wild type MBL (rMBL/A) and its structural variant rMBL/C in mediating THP-1 phagocytosis of fluorescent-labeled zymosan was examined and compared to MBL purified from human plasma (pMBL/A). Flow cytometric analyses revealed that opsonization of zymosan with rMBL/A and pMBL/A (0.5-30microg/ml) resulted in a 1.9- and 2.7-fold enhancement in its uptake by THP-1 cells in the presence of serum that was depleted of both MBL and the classical pathway component, C1q (MBL/C1q Dpl serum). In contrast, no enhancement in phagocytosis was observed when zymosan was opsonized with rMBL/C. Addition of MBL monoclonal antibody, EDTA, or mannan to the opsonization reaction mixture inhibited THP-1 phagocytosis of pMBL/A opsonized zymosan. Heat inactivation of MBL/C1q Dpl serum abolished the 2-fold increase in phagocytosis and in the absence of serum the direct opsonic activity of MBL did not contribute significantly to the uptake of zymosan into THP-1 cells. Activation products of complement components C3 and C4 were deposited on zymosan opsonized with pMBL/A and rMBL/A but not rMBL/C indicating that MBL-mediated phagocytosis of zymosan requires activation of the complement lectin pathway. The findings imply that impaired MBL-mediated phagocytosis may put individuals homozygous for the mutant allele MBL/C but not wild type MBL/A at increased risk to infections such as yeast.