Two new mAbs (M/K-1 and M/K-2) define an adhesion molecule expressed on stromal cell clones derived from murine bone marrow. The protein is similar in size to a human endothelial cell adhesion molecule known as VCAM-1 or INCAM110. VCAM-1 is expressed on endothelial cells in inflammatory sites and recognized by the integrin VLA-4 expressed on lymphocytes and monocytes. The new stromal cell molecule is a candidate ligand for the VLA-4 expressed on immature B lineage lymphocytes and a possible homologue of human VCAM-1. We now report additional similarities in the distribution, structure, and function of these proteins. The M/K antibodies detected large cells in normal bone marrow, as well as rare cells in other tissues. The antigen was constitutively expressed and functioned as a cell adhesion molecule on cultured murine endothelial cells. It correlated with the presence of mRNA which hybridized to a human VCAM-1 cDNA probe. Partial NH2 terminal amino acid sequencing of the murine protein revealed similarities to VCAM-1 and attachment of human lymphoma cells to murine endothelial cell lines was inhibited by the M/K antibodies. All of these observations suggest that the murine and human cell adhesion proteins may be related. The antibodies selectively interfered with B lymphocyte formation when included in long term bone marrow cultures. Moreover, they caused rapid detachment of lymphocytes from the adherent layer when added to preestablished cultures. The VCAM-like cell adhesion molecule on stromal cells and VLA-4 on lymphocyte precursors may both be important for B lymphocyte formation.

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