Adhesion of B cell precursors to accessory cells in the bone marrow microenvironment may be required for normal early B cell development. Human bone marrow B cell precursors adhere more avidly than mature B cells to bone marrow-derived fibroblasts. To determine the mechanism of this adhesion, expression of adhesion proteins on human B precursor cells and cell lines was measured by flow cytometry. The very late antigen (VLA) integrins VLA-4 and VLA-5 were the only adhesion proteins expressed at higher levels in B cell precursors than mature B cells. Antibodies to the α and β chains of VLA-4, but not VLA-5, significantly blocked binding to bone marrow-derived fibroblasts of immature B cells and cell lines. Although fibronectin is a ligand for VLA-4, anti-fibronectin antibody and a soluble fibronectin fragment containing the VLA-4 binding domain did not block adhesion, suggesting that VLA-4 is involved in adhesion of B cell precursors, but not as a fibronectin receptor. Vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), the other known counterreceptor for VLA-4, was identified on bone marrow-derived fibroblasts, and anti-VCAM-1 significantly blocked adhesion of normal B cell precursors to bone marrow-derived fibroblasts, indicating that VLA-4/VCAM-1 interactions are important in adhesion of B cell precursors to the bone marrow microenvironment.
- Phorbol esters
- Pre-B cells