The role of PECAM-1 in vascular cell biology

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1994 Apr 18;714:165-74. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.1994.tb12041.x.


Platelet/Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 (PECAM-1) is a 130-kDa integral membrane glycoprotein found on the surface of human platelets and leukocytes, and at the intercellular junctions of endothelial cells. PECAM-1 is a member of the immunoglobulin (Ig) gene superfamily, with six Ig-like loops in the extracytoplasmic domain, a 19-residue transmembrane domain, and a 118-amino acid cytoplasmic tail that contains potential sites for phosphorylation and lipid modification that could potentially modulate its adhesive properties and/or subcellular distribution. Antibodies to PECAM-1 interfere with the ability of endothelial cells to form normal cellular junctions, suggesting that PECAM-1 functions in forming or stabilizing the vascular bed. Anti-PECAM-1 antibodies also have been reported to block neutrophil and monocyte chemotaxis in response to lipopolysaccaride, suggesting that PECAM-1 may play a role in leukocyte motility. PECAM-1-transfected murine L cells, but not untransfected L cells, aggregate in a calcium- and PECAM-1-dependent manner, demonstrating directly that PECAM-1 functions as a cell-cell adhesion molecule. PECAM-1 becomes highly phosphorylated in response to cellular activation and, coincident with phosphorylation, associates with the cytoskeleton of activated, but not resting platelets. The engagement of PECAM-1 with the platelet cytoskeleton enables it to move large distances within the plane of the membrane and may similarly account for the ability of PECAM-1 to localize to the intercellular borders of endothelial cells once cell-cell contact has been achieved. Finally, engagement of PECAM-1 causes up-regulation of integrin function on leukocytes, implicating PECAM-1 as a trigger molecule that may regulate leukocyte trafficking through the vessel wall.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic / biosynthesis
  • Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic / chemistry
  • Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic / physiology*
  • Blood Platelets / physiology
  • Calcium / pharmacology
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / biosynthesis
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / chemistry
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / physiology*
  • Cell Aggregation / drug effects
  • Cell Aggregation / physiology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology*
  • Humans
  • L Cells
  • Mice
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Protein Conformation
  • Transfection


  • Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Calcium