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Nat Immunol. 2001 Nov;2(11):1048-53.

Murine Schnurri-2 is required for positive selection of thymocytes.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, RIKEN Tsukuba Institute, CREST Research Project of JST, 3-1-1 Koyadai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0074, Japan.


A key step in T cell development involves the positive selection of cells that recognize antigen presented by self-major histocompatibility complex. Yet, the signals that are activated by T cell receptor engagement and lead to cell survival remain unclear. We show here that mice lacking the transcription factor Schnurri-2 (Shn-2), a large metal-finger protein, had severely defective positive selection of CD4+ and CD8+ cells. Drosophila Shn acts as a cofactor of Smad homolog and is required for Decapentaplegic signaling. Vertebrates have at least three Shn orthologs (Shn-1, Shn-2 and Shn-3), which are thought to act as nuclear targets in the bone morphogenetic protein-transforming growth factor-beta-activin signaling pathways. These data raised the possibility that the Smad-Shn-2 complex is involved in the thymic selection of T cells.

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