Transition from rolling to firm adhesion can be mimicked by extension of integrin alphaLbeta2 in an intermediate affinity state. Academic Article uri icon


  • AlphaLbeta2 affinity for intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) is regulated by the conformation of the alphaL I domain, which is in turn controlled by the conformation and orientation of other adjacent domains. Additionally, overall integrin conformation (bent versus straightened) influences the orientation of the I domain and access to its ligands, influencing adhesive efficiency. The open or high affinity I domain conformation supports strong adhesion, whereas the closed, low affinity conformation mediates weak interactions or rolling. We have previously suggested that alphaLbeta2 can also exist on the cell surface in an intermediate affinity state. Here we have studied the adhesive properties of integrin alphaLbeta2 containing mutant I domains with intermediate affinities for ICAM-1. In an overall bent conformation, the intermediate affinity state of alphaLbeta2 is hardly detected by conventional adhesion assays, but robust adhesion is seen when an extended conformation is induced by a small molecule alpha/beta I allosteric antagonist. Intermediate affinity alphaLbeta2 supports more stable rolling than wild-type alphaLbeta2 under shear conditions. Moreover, antagonist-induced extension transforms rolling adhesion into firm adhesion in a manner reminiscent of chemokine activation of integrin alphaLbeta2. These findings suggest the relevance of intermediate affinity states of alphaLbeta2 to the transition between inactive and active states and demonstrate the importance of both I domain affinity and overall integrin conformation for cell adhesion.

publication date

  • April 21, 2006