Memory T lymphocytes extravasate at sites of inflammation, but the mechanisms employed by these cells to initiate contact and tethering with endothelium are incompletely understood. An important part of leukocyte extravasation is the initiation of rolling adhesions on endothelial selectins; such events have been studied in monocytes and neutrophils but not lymphocytes. In this study, the potential of T lymphocytes to adhere and roll on endothelial selectins in vitro was investigated. We demonstrate that T cells can form tethers and rolling adhesions on P selectin and E selectin under physiologic flow conditions. Tethering and rolling on P selectin was independent of cell-surface cutaneous lymphocyte antigen (CLA) expression, which correlated strictly with the capacity of T cells to form rolling adhesions under flow on E selectin. T cell tethering to P selectin was abolished by selective removal of cell surface sialomucins by a P. haemolytica O-glycoprotease, while cutaneous lymphocyte antigen expression was unaffected. A sialomucin molecule identical or closely related to P selectin glycoprotein ligand-1 (PSGL-1), the major P selectin ligand on neutrophils and HL-60 cells, appears to be a major T cell ligand for P selectin. P selectin glycoprotein ligand-1 does not appear to support T cell rolling on E selectin. In turn, E selectin ligands do not appear to be associated with sialomucins. These data demonstrate the presence of structurally distinct ligands for P or E selectins on T cells, provide evidence that both ligands can be coexpressed on a single T cell, and mediate tethering and rolling on the respective selectins in a mutually exclusive fashion.

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