Lymphocytes from the blood home to secondary lymphoid tissues through a process of tethering, rolling, firm adhesion and transmigration. Tethering and rolling of lymphocytes is mediated by the interaction of L-selectin on lymphocytes with sulphated ligands expressed by the specialized endothelial cells of high endothelial venules (HEVs). The sulphate-dependent monoclonal antibody MECA79 stains HEVs in peripheral lymph nodes and recognizes the complex of HEV ligands for L-selectin termed peripheral node addressin. High endothelial cell GlcNAc-6-sulphotransferase/L-selectin ligand sulphotransferase is a HEV-expressed sulphotransferase that contributes to the formation of the MECA79 epitope and L-selectin ligands on lymph node HEVs. MECA79-reactive vessels are also common at sites of chronic inflammation, suggesting mechanistic parallels between lymphocyte homing and inflammatory trafficking.

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