Adhesion between epithelial cells and T lymphocytes mediated by E-cadherin and the alpha E beta 7 integrin

Nature. 1994 Nov 10;372(6502):190-3. doi: 10.1038/372190a0.


In contrast to sessile cell types, lymphocytes migrate through the vasculature to become diffusely distributed in tissues or organized in lymphoid structures. A complex array of adhesion molecules including selectins, integrins and their counter-receptors mediate lymphocyte homing and migration into tissues and may be constitutively expressed or induced. However, the molecules that mediate the tissue-specific retention of lymphocytes within the parenchyma have not been identified. Along the epithelium at the basolateral surface of enterocytes, intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes are found. These T cells of the mucosal immune system serve as a model for the tissue-specific compartmentalization of lymphocytes. We investigated whether the localization of these intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes could be mediated by specific interactions between adhesion molecules expressed selectively on this subpopulation of T cells and tissue-restricted adhesion molecules on epithelial cells. Here we show that heterotypic adhesive interactions between epithelial cells and intraepithelial lymphocytes in vitro are mediated by E-cadherin and the alpha E beta 7 integrin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadherins / physiology*
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology*
  • Cell Line
  • Humans
  • Integrins / physiology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / cytology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology*
  • L Cells
  • Mice
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology
  • T-Lymphocytes / physiology*


  • Cadherins
  • Integrins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • integrin alpha4beta7
  • integrin alphaEbeta7