The leukocyte homing receptor (HR), the endothelial leukocyte adhesion molecule, and gmp140/platelet activation-dependent granule membrane protein are members of a family of adhesion molecules, termed the lectin cell adhesion molecules (LEC-CAMS) which are unified by a multi-domain structure containing a lectin motif, an epidermal growth factor-like (egf) motif, and variable numbers of a complement binding-like (CB) motif. Previous data have indicated a predominant role for the lectin motif in cell adhesion directed by the LEC-CAMS, although the egf-like domain of the HR may also play a potential role in cell binding. While the role(s) of the CB domains in the LEC-CAMS is currently not understood, they have been hypothesized to act as rigid spacers or stalks for lectin and perhaps, egf domain presentation. In this paper, we analyze the functional characteristics of murine HR-IgG chimeras containing the lectin, lectin plus egf, and lectin plus egf plus CB domains. The Mel 14 mAb, an adhesion blocking antibody which recognizes a conformational determinant in the N-terminus of the HR lectin domain, shows a significantly decreased affinity for a HR construct which lacks the CB motifs, consistent with the possibility that the CB domains are involved with lectin domain structure. In agreement with this conjecture, HR mutants lacking the CB domains show a profound decrease in lectin-specific interaction with the carbohydrate polyphosphomannan ester, suggesting that the changes in Mel 14 affinity for the lectin domain are reflected in lectin functionality. Various assays investigating the interactions between the HR deletion mutants and the peripheral lymph node high endothelium, including cell blocking, immunohistochemical staining, and radioactively labeled ligand binding, all showed that removal of the CB domains results in a lack of HR adhesive function. These results imply that the CB domains of the HR, and, by analogy, the other members of the LEC-CAM family, may play important structural roles involving induction of lectin domain conformation and resultant functionality.

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