Although circulating leukocytes are non-adherent cells, they also undergo adhesion in response to external stimuli. To elucidate this switch mechanism, we investigated PMA-induced cell adhesion in myelomonocytic KG-1 cells. PMA induced microvillius collapse, decrease of cell surface rigidity and exclusion of sialomucin from adhesion sites. All these adhesion-contributing events are linked to dephosphorylation of Ezrin/Radixin/Moesin (ERM) proteins. Indeed, PMA-treatment induced quick decrease of phosphorylated ERM proteins, while expression of Moesin-T558D, a phospho-mimetic mutant, inhibited PMA-induced cell adhesion. PMA-induced cell adhesion and ERM-dephophorylation were inhibited by PKC inhibitors or by a phosphatase inhibitor, indicating the involvement of PKC and protein phophatase in these processes. In peripheral T lymphocytes, ERM-dephosphorylation by adhesion-inducing stimuli was inhibited by a PKC inhibitor. Combined, these findings strongly suggest that external stimuli induce ERM-dephosphorylation via the activation of PKC in leukocytes and that ERM-dephosphorylation leads to leukocytes' adhesion.