Leukocyte activation is a complex process that involves multiple cross-regulated cell adhesion events. In this report, we investigated the role of intercellular adhesion molecule-3 (ICAM-3), the third identified ligand for the beta 2 integrin leukocyte function-associated antigen-1 (LFA-1), in the regulation of leukocyte adhesion to ICAM-1, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), and the 38- and 80-kD fragments of fibronectin (FN40 and FN80). The activating anti-ICAM-3 HP2/19, but not other anti-ICAM-3 mAb, was able to enhance T lymphoblast adhesion to these proteins when combined with very low doses of anti-CD3 mAb, which were unable by themselves to induce this phenomenon. In contrast, anti-ICAM-1 mAb did not enhance T cell attachment to these substrata. T cell adhesion to ICAM-1, VCAM-1, FN40, and FN80 was specifically blocked by anti-LFA-1, anti-VLA alpha 4, and anti-VLA alpha 5 mAb, respectively. The activating anti-ICAM-3 HP2/19 was also able to specifically enhance the VLA-4- and VLA-5-mediated binding of leukemic T Jurkat cells to VCAM-1, FN40, and FN80, even in the absence of cooccupancy of the CD3-TcR complex. We also studied the localization of ICAM-3, LFA-1, and the VLA beta 1 integrin, by immunofluorescence microscopy, on cells interacting with ICAM-1, VCAM-1 and FN80. We found that the anti-ICAM-3 HP2/19 mAb specifically promoted a dramatic change on the morphology of T lymphoblasts when these cells were allowed to interact with those adhesion ligands. Under these conditions, it was observed that a large cell contact area from which an uropod-like structure (heading uropod) was projected toward the outer milieu. However, when T blasts were stimulated with other adhesion promoting agents as the activating anti-VLA beta 1 TS2/16 mAb or phorbol esters, this structure was not detected. The anti-ICAM-3 TP1/24 mAb was also unable to induce this phenomenon. Notably, a striking cell redistribution of ICAM-3 was induced specifically by the HP2/19 mAb, but not by the other anti-ICAM-3 mAb or the other adhesion promoting agents. Thus, ICAM-3 was almost exclusively concentrated in the most distal portion of the heading uropod whereas either LFA-1 or the VLA beta 1 integrin were uniformly distributed all over the large contact area. Moreover, this phenomenon was also observed when T cells were specifically stimulated with the HP2/19 mAb to interact with TNF alpha-activated endothelial cells.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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