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FEBS J. 2006 Oct;273(19):4377-89. Epub 2006 Sep 5.

Selectins and glycosyltransferases in leukocyte rolling in vivo.

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  • 1University Children's Hospital Heidelberg, Division of Neonatal Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Germany.


Leukocyte rolling is an important step for the successful recruitment of leukocytes into tissue and occurs predominantly in inflamed microvessels and in high endothelial venules of secondary lymphoid organs. Leukocyte rolling is mediated by a group of C-type lectins, termed selectins. Three different selectins have been identified - P-, E- and L-selectin - which recognize and bind to crucial carbohydrate determinants on selectin ligands. Among selectin ligands, P-selectin glycoprotein ligand-1 is the main inflammatory selectin ligand, showing binding to all three selectins under in vivo conditions. Functional relevant selectin ligands expressed on high endothelial venules of lymphoid tissue are less clearly defined at the protein level. However, high endothelial venule-expressed selectin ligands were instrumental in uncovering the crucial role of post-translational modifications for selectin ligand activity. Several glycosyltransferases, such as core 2 beta1,6-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase-I, beta1,4-galactosyltransferases, alpha1,3-fucosyltransferases and alpha2,3-sialyltransferases have been described to participate in the synthesis of core 2 decorated O-glycan structures carrying the tetrasaccharide sialyl Lewis X, a carbohydrate determinant on selectin ligands with binding activity to all three selectins. In addition, modifications, such as carbohydrate or tyrosine sulfation, were also found to contribute to the synthesis of functional selectin ligands.

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