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J Exp Med. 2003 Feb 17;197(4):461-73.

Sustained activation of cell adhesion is a differentially regulated process in B lymphopoiesis.

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  • 1Joint Program in Transfusion Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


It is largely unknown how hematopoietic progenitors are positioned within specialized niches of the bone marrow microenvironment during development. Chemokines such as CXCL12, previously called stromal cell-derived factor 1, are known to activate cell integrins of circulating leukocytes resulting in transient adhesion before extravasation into tissues. However, this short-term effect does not explain the mechanism by which progenitor cells are retained for prolonged periods in the bone marrow. Here we show that in human bone marrow CXCL12 triggers a sustained adhesion response specifically in progenitor (pro- and pre-) B cells. This sustained adhesion diminishes during B cell maturation in the bone marrow and, strikingly, is absent in circulating mature B cells, which exhibit only transient CXCL12-induced adhesion. The duration of adhesion is tightly correlated with CXCL12-induced activation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK), a known molecule involved in integrin-mediated signaling. Sustained adhesion of progenitor B cells is associated with prolonged FAK activation, whereas transient adhesion in circulating B cells is associated with short-lived FAK activation. Moreover, sustained and transient adhesion responses are differentially affected by pharmacological inhibitors of protein kinase C and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase. These results provide a developmental cell stage-specific mechanism by which chemokines orchestrate hematopoiesis through sustained rather than transient activation of adhesion and cell survival pathways.

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