BACKGROUND: Polyagglutination refers to red blood cells (RBCs) that are agglutinated by a high proportion of ABO-matched adult sera but not by cord sera. Polyagglutinable RBCs have been associated with microbial infection, myeloproliferative disorders, and myelodysplasia. Lectins aid in the identification of polyagglutination. CASE STUDY: A Hispanic male infant with mild hemolytic anemia, a "Bernard-Soulier-like" syndrome, intermittent neutropenia, mitral valve regurgitation, ligament hyperlaxity, and mild mental retardation was studied. The patient's Group O RBCs were polyagglutinable; they were agglutinated by normal human sera, several lectins [including Arachis hypogea, Salvia sclarea, Salvia horminum, Glycine max, Ulex europaeus, Griffonia simplicifolia I, and Gr. simplicifolia II], and some monoclonal antibodies. His RBCs were not agglutinated by cord sera, Dolichos biflorus, or Phaseolus lunatus. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis on the RBC membranes followed by staining with periodic acid-Schiff stain showed markedly reduced staining of glycophorins A and B. Staining with Coomassie brilliant blue revealed that Band 3 has a faster mobility than normal. CONCLUSIONS: Collectively, the results suggest that the patient's RBCs have a reduction in N-acetylneuraminic acid on both N- and O-glycans, exposing, respectively, β1,4-galactosidase and β1,3-galactosidase. The patient likely has an altered glycosyltransferase that results in defective glycosylation in RBCs and other cell lineages. This type of polyagglutination was named Tr.