Phagocytes express a family of structurally related receptors, LFA-1, CR3, and p150,95, that mediate adhesion of leukocytes to a variety of cells and surfaces. LFA-1 mediates the binding of killer T cells to targets, CR3 mediates binding of phagocytes to iC3b-coated surfaces and to endothelial cells, and LFA-1, CR3, and p150,95 each mediate the binding of bacterial lipopolysaccharide. Here we review the structure and function of each of these receptors and present evidence that they are related to a larger class of adhesion-promoting receptors called integrins. Of particular emphasis are observations that the capacity of these receptors to promote adhesion is strongly and reversibly modulated by both soluble and surface-bound stimuli. We review this form of regulation and present evidence that changes in the binding activity of adhesion-promoting receptors is accomplished by changes in the two-dimensional distribution of receptors in the plane of the membrane. Inactive receptors are randomly distributed in the membrane, and their ability to bind a ligand-coated surface is enabled by a ligand-independent movement into small clusters. The implications of these structural features are discussed.

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