Human leukocyte complement receptor type three (CR3) was shown to be lectin-like and to resemble bovine serum conglutinin (K) in that it bound to both iC3b and unopsonized yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), and was inhibited by EDTA or N-acetyl-D-glucosamine (NADG). CR3 and K also bound to zymosan (Z), a yeast cell wall extract that contains primarily polysaccharide and no detectable protein. However, structural differences and the absence of K on bovine phagocytes indicated that CR3 was not the human homologue of bovine K. Phagocytic and respiratory responses to unopsonized Z were CR3 dependent because they were inhibited by monoclonal antibodies specific for the alpha-chain of CR3 and did not occur with phagocytes from patients with a genetic deficiency of CR3. The binding of CR3 to Z did not require opsonization of the Z with neutrophil-secreted C3, as Z binding and responses were not inhibited by Fab anti-C3. In addition, CR3-dependent binding of yeast occurred with neutrophils from which protein secretion was blocked by fixation with paraformaldehyde. Rabbit erythrocytes (RaE) also bound weakly to neutrophil CR3 and triggered ingestion. Anti-CR3 not only blocked the binding and ingestion of RaE but also blocked selectively the ingestion of RaEC3b without affecting the strong binding mediated by CR1. Even though sheep E and sheep EC3b were not ingested by neutrophils, a weak binding of CR3 to sheep E was suggested by the finding of 20 to 40% inhibition of sheep EAIgG ingestion by anti-CR3. Such inhibition was only observed in buffers that allowed activity of the CR3 binding site and not in buffers containing either EDTA or NADG. An apparently contradictory finding was that the weak CR3-dependent binding of Z triggered neutrophil ingestion and a superoxide burst, whereas the avid CR3-dependent binding of sheep EC3bi did not induce significant ingestion or a respiratory burst. Blocking studies with monoclonal antibodies specific for different epitopes of the alpha-chain of CR3 suggested that this might result from the presence of two distinct binding sites in CR3: one site for fixed iC3b that did not trigger functions, and a second function-triggering site for Z that did not bind to fixed iC3b.