Interaction of Candida albicans with cells of the macrophage lineage was examined by using heat-killed (HK) and live yeast cells. Laminarin, an analogue of the cell wall beta-glucans, strongly inhibited HK yeasts adherence to J774 cell line but had no effect on live yeast binding. Phosphopeptidomannan (PPM) from Saccharomyces cerevisiae had a limited effect on the binding of both HK and live yeasts but significant inhibition was achieved by the use of C. albicans PPM. The role of beta-1,2-oligomannosides was examined with regard to their exclusive presence within C. albicans PPM. PPM acid labile beta-1,2-oligomannosides or a synthetic beta-1,2-mannotetraose, inhibited yeasts binding in a manner comparable to the original PPM. These latter results were confirmed by using mouse peritoneal macrophages, thus suggesting a general role for beta-1,2-oligomannosides in the adherence of the yeast to the macrophage membrane.