We have reported that mast cells adhere to laminin after activation with PMA. In this study, we demonstrate that the cross-linking of cell surface high-affinity IgE-R on mast cells derived from mouse bone marrow cultured for 3 wk in the presence of WEHI-3-conditioned media acts as a highly sensitive physiologic stimulus for this attachment and that receptor activation is also induced by calcium ionophore A23187. Adherence occurred at threefold log concentrations less of A23187 and Ag than required for histamine release in a selective subpopulation comprising 20 to 30% of the total cells. At higher concentrations of agonist that permitted histamine release, the time course for degranulation was shown to be more rapid than that of adherence. Adherence was inhibited by antibodies to laminin and laminin receptor and was calcium ion and temperature dependent. Treatment of cells with dibutyryl cAMP, which activates protein kinase A, inhibited both adherence and histamine release induced by Ag or calcium ionophore. Treatment of cells with staurosporin, which inhibits protein kinase C, also inhibited adherence and histamine release induced by calcium ionophore, but was not significantly active against either adherence or histamine release induced by Ag. It thus appears that agents which modulate intracellular signaling mechanisms are equally effective toward histamine release and adherence, suggesting these two events are intimately linked in stimulus secretion coupling. Specific cytokines stimulating mast cell adhesion to laminin could not be found; however, culture of mast cells with TGF-beta 1 was determined to enhance IgE-mediated adherence to laminin. Hence, the high-affinity IgE-R on the mast cell functions not only in exocytosis but also facilitates the process of mast cell adherence to laminin.