Hyaluronan anchoring and regulation on the surface of vascular endothelial cells is mediated through the functionally active form of CD44

Animesh Nandi, Pila Estess, Mark H. Siegelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

176 Scopus citations


CD44 on lymphocytes binding to its carbohydrate ligand hyaluronan can mediate primary adhesion (rolling interactions) of lymphocytes on vascular endothelial cells. This adhesion pathway is utilized in the extravasation of activated T cells from the blood into sites of inflammation and therefore influences patterns of lymphocyte homing and inflammation. Hyaluronan is a glycosaminoglycan found in the extracellular matrix and is involved in a number of biological processes. We have shown that the expression of hyaluronan on the surface of endothelial cells is inducible by proinflammatory cytokines. However, the manner through which hyaluronan is anchored to the endothelial cell surface so that it can resist shear forces and the mechanism of the regulation of the level of hyaluronan on the cell surface has not been investigated. In order to characterize potential hyaluronan receptors on endothelial cells, we performed analyses of cell surface staining by flow cytometry on intact endothelial cells and ligand blotting assays using membrane fractions. Hyaluronan binding activity was detected as a major species corresponding to the size of CD44, and this was confirmed to be the same by Western blotting and immunoprecipitation. Moreover, alterations in the surface level of hyaluronan after tumor necrosis factor-α stimulation is regulated primarily by changes in the cell surface levels of the hyaluronan-binding form of CD44. In laminar flow assays, lymphoid cells specifically roll on hyaluronan anchored by purified CD44 coated on glass tubes, indicating that the avidity of the endothelial CD44/hyaluronan interaction is sufficient to support roiling adhesions under conditions mimicking physiologic shear forces. Together these studies show that CD44 serves to anchor hyaluronan on endothelial cell surfaces, that activation of CD44 is a major regulator of endothelial surface hyaluronan expression, and that the non-covalent interaction between CD44 and hyaluronan is sufficient to provide resistance to shear under physiologic conditions and thereby support the initial steps of lymphocyte extravasation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14939-14948
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number20
StatePublished - May 19 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Hyaluronan anchoring and regulation on the surface of vascular endothelial cells is mediated through the functionally active form of CD44'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this