Adhesion of B lymphocytes within the different compartments of secondary lymphoid organs is essential for the function of the humoral immune response. It is not currently known how the temporary immobilization of B cells in distinct areas of this complex microenvironment is regulated. The present study aimed at defining B cell antigens that initiate binding of B cells to human tonsil sections in situ. Engaging the B cell antigens CD19 and target of an antiproliferative antibody 1 (TAPA-1) with monoclonal antibodies induced adhesion of these B cells to the interfollicular stroma. This binding occurred through the integrin alpha 4 beta 1 on the B cell surface and via the extracellular matrix protein fibronectin expressed in the interfollicular compartment of the tonsil. Signaling through either antigen, CD19 or TAPA-1, depended on tyrosine kinases. Binding induced by engaging CD19 required an intact cytoskeleton, whereas TAPA-1-transmitted adhesion did not. We suggest that CD19 and TAPA-1 have a novel and unique function by regulating an alpha 4 beta 1/fibronectin-mediated binding of B cells to the interfollicular stroma of lymphoid tissues.

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