The first domain of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) binds to the leucocyte function-associated antigen-1 (LFA-1) I domain, which contains the principal ligand-binding site of this leucocyte integrin. Whether the function of the second domain is also to directly bind LFA-1 has been unclear. Our data show that mutation in the hydrophilic EF loop of ICAM-1 domain 2 resulted in impaired binding of the isolated I domain when compared with wild-type ICAM-1. LFA-1 on T-cells also binds with reduced affinity to this ICAM-1 mutant. A hybrid construct containing the first domain of vascular cell-adhesion molecule-1 joined to domains 2–5 of ICAM-1 was unable to bind to the I domain, showing that there is no direct interaction between the second domain of ICAM-1 and the I domain. This construct was also not bound by LFA-1 expressed in T-cells. Function-blocking monoclonal antibodies that map to domain 2 of ICAM-1, implicating this domain in ligand binding, were found to act indirectly. In summary our data suggest that the second domain of ICAM-1 has a role in maintaining the structure of the LFA-1 ligand-binding site in the first domain of ICAM-1 but does not appear to have a direct role in ligand binding.

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