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Stem Cells. 2001;19(3):165-79.

Transcriptional control of t lymphocyte differentiation.

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Department of Immunology, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands.


Initiation of gene transcription by transcription factors (TFs) is an important regulatory step in many developmental processes. The differentiation of T cell progenitors in the thymus is tightly controlled by signaling molecules, ultimately activating nuclear TFs that regulate the expression of T lineage-specific genes. During the last 2 years, significant progress has been made in our understanding of the signaling routes and TFs operating during the earliest stages of thymic differentiation at the CD4(-)CD8(-) double negative stage. Here we will review the TF families that play an important role in differentiation of thymocytes, particularly focusing on recent new information with respect to the Tcf, bHLH, GATA, and CBF/HES TF families.

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