The molecular nature of cell adhesion mediated by platelet/endothelial cell adhesion molecule 1 (PECAM-1; CD31) was examined using stably transfected L cells in a PECAM-dependent aggregation assay. This adhesion was temperature sensitive and divalent cation dependent, with Mg2+ supporting aggregation to a greater degree than Ca2+. PECAM-dependent aggregation was heterophilic: PECAM-1 transfectants bound as readily to control-transfected L cells as to other PECAM-1 transfectants, demonstrating that a molecule endogenously expressed on the L cells serves as the ligand for PECAM in this system and presumably substitutes for the natural human ligand.

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