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Science. 2002 Jun 7;296(5574):1876-80.

Dynamics of thymocyte-stromal cell interactions visualized by two-photon microscopy.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


Thymocytes are selected to mature according to their ability to interact with self major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-peptide complexes displayed on the thymic stroma. Using two-photon microscopy, we performed real-time analysis of the cellular contacts made by developing thymocytes undergoing positive selection in a three-dimensional thymic organ culture. A large fraction of thymocytes within these cultures were highly motile. MHC recognition was found to increase the duration of thymocyte-stromal cell interactions and occurred as both long-lived cellular associations displaying stable cell-cell contacts and as shorter, highly dynamic contacts. Our results identify the diversity and dynamics of thymocyte interactions during positive selection.

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