Interaction with stromal cells is known to be crucial for growth and differentiation of hematopoietic cells. To characterize adhesion molecules involved in this interaction, we examined adhesion of a panel of lymphoid, myeloid, and mast cell lines with stromal cells. We found that very late antigen-4 (VLA-4) and vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) were major adhesion molecules in lymphoid and myeloid cells, whereas myeloma cells adhered to stromal cells through hyaluronate. We investigated regulation of VLA-4 during differentiation of myeloid cells using a neutrophil precursor cell line, L-G3. Differentiation of neutrophils induced by granulocyte colony-stimulating factor was accompanied with down-regulation of VLA-4. Induced L-G3 cells adhered to stromal cells in proportion to the expression of VLA-4. Mast cells used two mechanisms to adhere to fibroblasts and stromal cells. They adhered to fibronectin through VLA-5 when stimulated with steel factor and also directly to membrane-anchored steel factor through c-kit.