Physical interaction between human lymphomas and murine bone marrow derived stromal cells were studied. Nalm-6 pre-B cells adhered to BMS2 stromal cells and subsequently migrated beneath them, while Ramos Burkitt lymphoma cells, adhered but did not migrate. Four mAbs were established against Nalm-6 cells, which were able to block initial adhesion of Nalm-6 cells. Two of them were directed against the alpha 4 chain of VLA-4, and other two recognized the beta 1 chain of VLA integrins. Therefore, the initial adhesion of Ramos and Nalm-6 cells to BMS2 was largely mediated by the VLA-4 integrin expressed on lymphocytes. The corresponding ligand on stromal cells appears to be VCAM-1, because antibodies against murine VCAM-1 blocked the adhesion. However, antibodies against the alpha chain of VLA-4 were not capable of blocking subsequent migration beneath stromal cells. In contrast, antibodies against the beta chain of VLA integrins blocked the migration beneath stromal cells as well as the initial adhesion. Because a common beta chain can be shared among integrins, the role of other VLA integrins in Nalm-6 cells migration was investigated. VLA-5 and VLA-6 as well as VLA-4 were expressed on Nalm-6 cells, but not on Ramos cells. Additional blocking experiments revealed that VLA-4 and VLA-5 are likely to work in concert to mediate the migration of Nalm-6 cells beneath stromal cells. Thus, particular VLA integrins appear to be responsible not only for lymphocyte adhesion but also for migration with respect to stromal cells. These findings may have implications for cell-cell interactions and directed migration of lymphocytes in bone marrow and other tissues.

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