The adhesion and locomotion of mouse peripheral lymph node lymphocytes on 2-D protein- coated substrata and in 3-D matrices were compared. Lymphocytes did not adhere to, or migrate on, 2-D substrata suck as serum- or fibronectin-coated glass. They did attach to and migrate in hydrated 3-D collagen lattices. When the collagen was dehydrated to form a 2-D surface, lymphocyte attachment to it was reduced. We propose that lymphocytes, which are poorly adhesive, are able to attach to and migrate in 3-D matrices by a nonadhesive mechanism such as the extension and expansion of pseudopodia through gaps in the matrix, which could provide purchase for movement in the absence of discrete intermolecular adhesions. This was supported by studies using serum-coated micropore filters, since lymphocytes attached to and migrated into filters with pore sizes large enough (3 or 8 mum) to allow pseudopod penetration but did not attach to filters made of an identical material (cellulose esters) but of narrow pore size (0.22 or 0.45 mum). Cinematographic studies of lymphocyte locomotion in collagen gels were also consistent with the above hypothesis, since lymphocytes showed a more variable morphology than is typically seen on plane surfaces, with formation of many small pseudopodia expanded to give a marked constriction between the cell and the pseudopod. These extensions often remained fixed with respect to the environment as the lymphocyte moved away from or past them. This suggests that the pseudopodia were inserted into gaps in the gel matrix and acted as anchorage points for locomotion.

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