Mouse mAb MS-1, raised against human spleen, detects an endothelial cell antigen abundantly expressed by the sinusoidal endothelia of spleen, lymph node, liver, and adrenal cortex, but absent from nonsinusoidal continuous endothelia in these organs. Immunoelectron microscopy of splenic tissue demonstrates that the MS-1 antigen is predominantly deposited at zones of intercellular contact between adjacent sinusoidal endothelial cells. mAb MS-1 also reacts with a variable proportion of high endothelial venules in tonsil, but not in other lymphoid tissues, and with an interstitial dendritic cell population most abundant in placenta. mAb MS-1 does not react with cultured resting or mediator- activated human umbilical vein endothelial cells, dermal fibroblasts, peripheral blood mononuclear cells, or the cell lines U937, HL-60, K562 or Mo7E; it does react with the primitive myeloid cell line KG-1. mAb MS-1 immunoprecipitates a major protein of 215 kD and minor proteins of 320 and 120 kD from splenic extracts as analyzed by SDS-PAGE with reduction. These proteins are soluble in aqueous buffers. Immunoprecipitation from KG-1 cell lysates detects four proteins of 280, 300, 205, and 120 kD; the 300-, 205-, and 120-kD species, presumably corresponding to the 320-, 215-, and 120-kD species in spleen, respectively, are secreted into the media. Under nonreducing conditions, immunoprecipitates from KG-1 cell lysates or conditioned media contain one predominant 300-kD species; upon isolation and reduction, this 300-kD species separates into the previously observed 300-, 205-, and 120-kD species. Pulse-chase experiments and limited proteolysis peptide mapping suggest that the 280-kD species is a precursor of the mature 300-kD species which may be subsequently cleaved to yield the 205- and 120-kD species. Because of its size, solubility and expression pattern, the antigen recognized by mAb MS-1 is likely to be an extracellular matrix protein utilized by endothelial cells of contorted, large caliber, or leaky microvessels that lack a well-formed basement membrane.

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