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J Biol Chem. 2000 Jun 23;275(25):19139-45.

Vascular endothelial junction-associated molecule, a novel member of the immunoglobulin superfamily, is localized to intercellular boundaries of endothelial cells.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and the Cardiovascular Research Institute, the Program in Immunology, University of California, USA.


During the process of lymphocyte homing to secondary lymphoid organs, such as lymph nodes and tonsils, lymphocytes interact with and cross a specialized microvasculature, known as high endothelial venules. There is a great deal of information available about the first steps in the homing cascade, but molecular understanding of lymphocyte transmigration through the intercellular junctions of high endothelial venules is lacking. In analyzing expressed sequence tags from a cDNA library prepared from human tonsillar high endothelial cells, we have identified a cDNA encoding a novel member of the immunoglobulin superfamily. The protein, which we have termed VE-JAM ("vascular endothelial junction-associated molecule"), contains two extracellular immunoglobulin-like domains, a transmembrane domain, and a relatively short cytoplasmic tail. VE-JAM is prominently expressed on high endothelial venules but is also present on the endothelia of other vessels. Strikingly, it is highly localized to the intercellular boundaries of high endothelial cells. VE-JAM is most homologous to a recently identified molecule known as Junctional Adhesion Molecule, which is concentrated at the intercellular boundaries of both epithelial and endothelial cells. Because the Junctional Adhesion Molecule has been strongly implicated in the processes of neutrophil and monocyte transendothelial migration, an analogous function of VE-JAM during lymphocyte homing is plausible.

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