Cytoplasmic anchorage of L-selectin controls leukocyte capture and rolling by increasing the mechanical stability of the selectin tether

Oren Dwir, Geoffrey S. Kansas, Ronen Alon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


L-selectin is a leukocyte lectin that mediates leukocyte capture and rolling in the vasculature. The cytoplasmic domain of L-selectin has been shown to regulate leukocyte rolling. In this study, the regulatory mechanisms by which this domain controls L-selectin adhesiveness were investigated. We report that an L-selectin mutant generated by truncation of the COOH-terminal 11 residues of L-selectin tail, which impairs association with the cytoskeletal protein α-actinin, could capture leukocytes to glycoprotein L-selectin ligands under physiological shear flow. However, the conversion of initial tethers into rolling was impaired by this partial tail truncation, and was completely abolished by a further four-residue truncation of the L-selectin tail. Physical anchorage of both cell-free tail-truncated mutants within a substrate fully rescued their adhesive deficiencies. Microkinetic analysis of full-length and truncated L-selectin-mediated rolling at millisecond temporal resolution suggests that the lifetime of unstressed L-selectin tethers is unaffected by cytoplasmic tail truncation. However, cytoskeletal anchorage of L-selectin stabilizes the selectin tether by reducing the sensitivity of its dissociation rate to increasing shear forces. Low force sensitivity (reactive compliance) of tether lifetime is crucial for selectins to mediate leukocyte rolling under physiological shear stresses. This is the first demonstration that reduced reactive compliance of L-selectin tethers is regulated by cytoskeletal anchorage, in addition to intrinsic mechanical properties of the selectin-carbohydrate bond.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-156
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2001


  • Cytoskeleton
  • Inflammation
  • Leukocyte
  • Rolling
  • Selectins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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