When hemagglutinin (HA) of fowl plague virus (FPV) was expressed in CV-1 cells by a simian virus 40 vector, hemadsorption was barely detectable, although HA was exposed at the cell surface. However, treatment of HA-expressing cells with Vibrio cholerae neuraminidase (VCNA) resulted in extensive hemadsorption. VCNA treatment enhanced the electrophoretic mobility of the HA1 subunit of HA, indicating the removal of sialic acid. When two oligosaccharides in the vicinity of the receptor binding site of FPV HA were deleted by site-specific mutagenesis, VCNA treatment was not required for hemadsorption. Mutants which retained one of these oligosaccharides and mutants in which oligosaccharides not adjacent to the receptor binding site were deleted needed VCNA treatment to show hemadsorption. VCNA treatment also enhanced hemadsorption of vector-expressed HA of the WSN strain, which had a complex-type oligosaccharide in the vicinity of the receptor binding site, but had no effect on hemadsorption of Hong Kong type HA, which has a high-mannose type oligosaccharide adjacent to the receptor binding site. These results indicate that sialic acid on oligosaccharides near the receptor binding site interferes with hemadsorption. Thus, the neuraminidase is essential for FPV HA to show hemagglutinating activity.