Adherence of Entamoeba histolytica trophozoites to host cells is mediated by a galactose (Gal) and N-acetylgalactosamine (GalNAc)-specific surface lectin. The lectin is a heterodimeric protein composed of heavy (170 kDa) and light (35-31 kDa) subunits linked by disulfide bonds. Polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies (mAb) raised against a light subunit-glutathione-S-transferase fusion protein were used to probe its structure and function. Four light subunit-specific mAb were produced which recognized distinct epitopes on five different light subunit isoforms. Immunoblots with these mAb demonstrated co-migration of light and heavy subunits when nonreduced trophozoite proteins were analysed by SDS-PAGE, indicating that the subunits do not exist free of the heterodimer in significant quantities. While anti-heavy subunit antibodies had previously been shown to alter adherence, anti-light subunit antibodies did not, suggesting that the heavy subunit contains the carbohydrate recognition domain.