Several precursor lymphoid cell lines, blocked at specific stages of differentiation, adhere specifically to fibronectin in vitro. Whereas the Ba F3 cell line, which has both immunoglobulin heavy- and light-chain genes in germline configuration, interacts with the arg-gly-asp-containing cell-binding domain of fibronectin, the B-committed line PD 31, which is undergoing rearrangement of immunoglobulin light-chain genes, does not. Accordingly the Ba F3, but not the putative PD 31 surface fibronectin receptor, binds to an affinity matrix containing the 115-kD cell-binding domain of fibronectin. PD 31 cells recognize a different domain of the fibronectin molecule, which is contained within the carboxy terminal segment possessing a high-affinity binding site for heparin. A polyclonal antibody raised against the fibronectin receptor of mouse erythroleukemic cells inhibits adhesion of these lymphoid lines to fibronectin. It precipitates two major species of 140 and 70 kD from surface-radioiodinated Ba F3 cells and species of 140 and 120 kD from PD 31 cells. We propose that the two types of cells express different fibronectin receptors mediating substrate adhesion, and suggest that receptor(s) with different specificity might be expressed in the course of B cell maturation. Because we show that these adhesion properties are shared by normal bone marrow lymphoid precursors, we infer that these receptors may play a role in normal lymphopoiesis.

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