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Immunity. 1999 May;10(5):525-35.

Distinct roles of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and STAT5 pathways in IL-7-mediated development of human thymocyte precursors.

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Division of Immunology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Antoni van Leeuwenhoekhuis, Amsterdam.


Here, we define the IL-7R-activated signal that promotes survival and proliferation of T cell progenitors and demonstrate that it is distinct from the signals that induce differentiation. We show that IL-7 activates PKB and STAT5 in human thymocytes. Into T cell precursors we introduced chimeric receptors with a cytoplasmic domain of the IL-7R that is no longer able to activate PI-3K/PKB and STAT5 and tested the transduced cells in a fetal thymic organ culture. We also examined the T cell precursor activity of progenitors expressing dominant-negative forms of PI-3K or STAT5B. These experiments revealed that PI-3K/PKB activation is essential for the survival and proliferation of T cell precursors and suggest that STAT5 activated by IL-7 mediates T cell differentiation.

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