The Journal of experimental medicine

Nepmucin, a novel HEV sialomucin, mediates L-selectin-dependent lymphocyte rolling and promotes lymphocyte adhesion under flow.

PMID 16754720


Lymphocyte trafficking to lymph nodes (LNs) is initiated by the interaction between lymphocyte L-selectin and certain sialomucins, collectively termed peripheral node addressin (PNAd), carrying specific carbohydrates expressed by LN high endothelial venules (HEVs). Here, we identified a novel HEV-associated sialomucin, nepmucin (mucin not expressed in Peyer's patches [PPs]), that is expressed in LN HEVs but not detectable in PP HEVs at the protein level. Unlike conventional sialomucins, nepmucin contains a single V-type immunoglobulin (Ig) domain and a mucin-like domain. Using materials affinity-purified from LN lysates with soluble L-selectin, we found that two higher molecular weight species of nepmucin (75 and 95 kD) were decorated with oligosaccharides that bind L-selectin as well as an HEV-specific MECA-79 monoclonal antibody. Electron microscopic analysis showed that nepmucin accumulates in the extended luminal microvillus processes of LN HEVs. Upon appropriate glycosylation, nepmucin supported lymphocyte rolling via its mucin-like domain under physiological flow conditions. Furthermore, unlike most other sialomucins, nepmucin bound lymphocytes via its Ig domain, apparently independently of lymphocyte function-associated antigen 1 and very late antigen 4, and promoted shear-resistant lymphocyte binding in combination with intercellular adhesion molecule 1. Collectively, these results suggest that nepmucin may serve as a dual-functioning PNAd in LN HEVs, mediating both lymphocyte rolling and binding via different functional domains.