The selectins (lectin-EGF-complement binding-cell adhesion molecules [LEC-CAMs]) are a family of mammalian receptors implicated in the initial interactions between leukocytes and vascular endothelia, leading to lymphocyte homing, platelet binding, and neutrophil extravasation. The three known selectins, L-selectin (leukocyte adhesion molecule-1 [LECAM-1]), E-selectin (endothelial-leukocyte adhesion molecule-1 [ELAM-1]), and P-selectin (GMP-140) share structural features that include a calcium-dependent lectin domain. The sialyl Lewis(x) carbohydrate epitope has been reported as a ligand for both E- and P-selectins. Although L-selectin has been demonstrated to bind to carbohydrates, structural features of potential mammalian carbohydrate ligand(s) have not been well defined. Using an ELISA developed with a sialyl Lewis(x)-containing glycolipid and an E-selectin-IgG chimera, we have demonstrated the direct binding of the L-selectin-IgG chimera to sialyl Lewis(x). This recognition was calcium dependent, and could be blocked by Mel-14 antibody but not by other antibodies. Recognition was confirmed by the ability of cells expressing the native L-selectin to adhere to immobilized sialyl Lewis(x). These data suggest that the sialyl Lewis(x) oligosaccharide may form the basis of a recognition domain common to all three selectins.

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