Abstract: Little is known about the role of the N-linked oligosaccharides in the function of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor (EGF-R). In a human glioma cell line, U373 MG, EGF-Rs contain the bisecting N-linked oligosaccharide sequence recognized by erythroagglutinating phytohemagglutinin lectin from Phaseolus vulgaris (E-PHA). Incubation of E-PHA with cultured U373 MG cells results in inhibition of EGF binding to its receptor and consequently inhibition of EGF-induced autophosphorylation of the receptor. Consistent with the inhibitory effects on the EGF-R, phenotypic events that depend on EGF-R signaling, such as cell spreading and proliferation, were also found to be modified. The effect of this lectin seems to be specific because leukoagglutinating phytohemagglutinin lectin from P. vulgaris (L-PHA), an isolectin of E-PHA, had no effect on EGF-R activity or the biological functions of these cells even though L-PHA was able to bind to the EGF-R. These findings suggest the presence of an important bisecting N-linked oligosaccharide structure in close proximity to the EGF binding site on the receptor. Furthermore, these results suggest the possibility that E-PHA lectin binding may provide an additional approach to blocking EGF-dependent glioma cell growth.