E-Selectin is an inducible adhesion protein expressed by endothelial cells and recognized by leukocytes during their extravasation from the blood into inflamed tissues. Originally, E-selectin was defined as a myeloid cell-specific adhesion protein, but recent studies have shown it to be recognized by human lymphocytes as well. These lymphocytes represent a memory T cell subset and have been shown to express the HECA-452 carbohydrate epitope (CLA+ lymphocytes). We extend these findings and show that ruminant gamma/delta T cells bind E-selectin as well; and we provide preliminary evidence that this interaction is mediated by a novel glycoprotein receptor on the lymphocyte. Unlike conventional T cells (alpha/beta T cells), gamma/delta T cells from neonatal and mature animals bind E-selectin, suggesting that prior antigen stimulation and differentiation to a memory lymphocyte are not required for this interaction. Neuraminidase treatment of the gamma/delta T cells or addition of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) to the assay abrogates binding, demonstrating the importance of sialic acid and divalent cations, which is consistent with other E-selectin-mediated adhesion events. However, previously defined E-selectin carbohydrate ligands, such as sialyl Lewis x on neutrophils and the HECA-452 epitope on human memory lymphocytes, are antigenically different than the carbohydrates on ruminant gamma/delta T cells since the mAbs CSLEX and HECA-452 do not recognize these cells. Protease treatment of gamma/delta T cells significantly inhibits their binding to E-selectin; however, previously characterized adhesion glycoproteins, such as L-selectin, CD44, and CD18, are not involved in the adhesive event. An E-selectin affinity column purifies a single glycoprotein of 250 kD (280 kD under reducing conditions) from gamma/delta T cell detergent lysates. Neuraminidase digestion of the 250-kD product as well as EDTA abolishes binding to E-selectin. Finally, E-selectin expression in vivo appears to mediate gamma/delta T cell accumulation. Stimulation of bovine skin with tumor necrosis factor alpha induced an increase in E-selectin expression that was associated with an influx of gamma/delta T cells at the same site.