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Hematology - Immunology

Extra-Thymic Physiological T Lineage Progenitor Activity Is Exclusively Confined to Cells Expressing either CD127, CD90, or High Levels of CD117
Published: Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Author: Namita Saran et al.

by Namita Saran, Jens Pommerencke, Katrin Witzlau, Malte Regelin, Andreas Krueger

T cell development depends on continuous recruitment of progenitors from bone marrow (BM) to the thymus via peripheral blood. However, both phenotype and functional characteristics of physiological T cell precursors remain ill-defined. Here, we characterized a putative CD135+CD27+ T cell progenitor population, which lacked expression of CD127, CD90, and high levels of CD117 and was therefore termed triple negative precursor (TNP). TNPs were present in both BM and blood and displayed robust T lineage potential, but virtually no myeloid or B lineage potential, in vitro. However, TNPs did not efficiently generate T lineage progeny after intravenous or intrathymic transfer, suggesting that a physiological thymic microenvironment does not optimally support T cell differentiation from TNPs. Thus, we propose that physiological T cell precursors are confined to populations expressing either CD127, CD90, or high levels of CD117 in addition to CD135 and CD27 and that TNPs may have other physiological functions.