The mouse progenitor T lymphocyte (pro-T) cell line FTF1 binds in vitro to thymus blood vessels, the thymic capsule, and liver from newborn mice. A mAb, EA-1, raised against an embryonic mouse endothelial cell line, blocked adhesion. The antibody also interfered with pro-T cell adhesion to a thymus-derived mouse endothelial cell line; it had no effect on the adhesion of mature T lymphocytes and myeloid cells. The antigen recognized by EA-1 is located on the vascular endothelium of various mouse tissues and absent on pro-T cells. EA-1 antibody precipitates molecules with apparent molecular weights of 110,000, 140,000, 160,000, and 200,000. Immunoclearing and binding-inhibition studies with antibodies against known adhesion molecules suggest that the EA-1 antigen is a novel adhesion molecule involved in colonization of the embryonic thymus by T cell progenitors.

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