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Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS

, Volume 57, Issue 6, pp 957–975 | Cite as

Regulation of pre-T-cell development

  • T. Möröy*
  • H. Karsunky

Abstract.

One important pillar of cellular immune defense in mammals is the T-lymphoid compartment which produces cells that are able to specifically recognize foreign peptide antigens through a membrane-bound receptor. These T-cells can trigger a variety of defense mechanisms upon antigen stimulation ranging from the production of potent cytokines to the direct killing of virus-infected cells. The production of such highly specialized T-cells takes place in the thymus and requires a stringent process of differentiation and selection of precursor cells that are delivered from the bone marrow. In the thymus, several waves of proliferative expansion and selection ensure the production of a large repertoire of antigen-specific T-cells that each bear a unique T-cell receptor (TCR) which is able to recognize foreign antigens but can tolerate the own host-specific peptide structures. Education of precursors to mature T-cells in the thymus requires a dense network of regulatory processes acting at receptor-ligand interactions, signal transduction, genomic rearrangement of TCR gene loci, cell cycle progression, transcriptional control and programmed cell death.

Key words. T-cell development; thymus; β-selection; pre-T-cell receptor; positive/negative selection; lineage decision; CD4; CD8. 

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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel, 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Möröy*
    • 1
  • H. Karsunky
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Zellbiologie (Tumorforschung), IFZ, Universitätsklinikum Essen, Virchowstrasse 173, D-45122 Essen (Germany), Fax +49 (201) 723-5904, e-mail: moeroey@uni-essen.deDE

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