The homing of blood borne lymphocytes into lymph nodes and Peyer's patches is mediated in part by recognition and binding to specialized high endothelial venules (HEV). Here we demonstrate that a rapid pertussis toxin-sensitive lymphocyte activation event can participate in lymphocyte recognition of HEV. In situ video microscopic analyses of lymphocyte interactions with HEV in exteriorized mouse Peyer's patches reveal that pertussis toxin has no effect on an initial "rolling" displayed by many lymphocytes, but inhibits an activation-dependent "sticking" event required for lymphocyte arrest. This is the first demonstration that physiologic lymphocyte-endothelial interactions can involve sequential rolling, activation, and activation-dependent arrest, previously shown only for neutrophils. The inhibitory effect of the toxin is dependent on its G protein-modifying ADP-ribosyltransferase activity and can be reversed by phorbol myristic acetate, which bypasses cell surface receptors to trigger activation-dependent adhesion. Lymphocyte sticking can occur within 1-3 s after initiation of rolling. We conclude that a rapid receptor-mediated activation event involving G protein signaling can trigger stable lymphocyte attachment to HEV in vivo, and may play a critical role in regulating lymphocyte homing.

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