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EMBO J. 2012 Feb 1;31(3):692-706. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2011.435. Epub 2011 Nov 29.

The NF-κB1 transcription factor prevents the intrathymic development of CD8 T cells with memory properties.

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  • 1Burnet Institute, Centre for Immunology, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


The role of specific members of the NF-κB family of transcription factors in CD8 T-cell selection and development is largely unknown. Here, we show that mice lacking NF-κB1 develop a unique population of conventional CD8 single-positive (SP) thymocytes with memory T cell-like properties that populate peripheral immune organs. Development of this memory-like population is not due to PLZF(+) thymocytes and instead coincides with changes in CD8 T-cell selection. These include a reduction in the efficiency of negative selection and a dependence on MHC class Ia or Ib expressed by haematopoietic cells. These findings indicate that NF-κB1 regulates multiple events in the thymus that collectively inhibit the excess development of CD8(+) thymocytes with memory cell characteristics.

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