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Semin Immunol. 2002 Dec;14(6):453-60.

Murine natural killer cell progenitors and their requirements for development.

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Department of Pathology, University of Chicago, 5841 S. Maryland Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


Molecules that are essential to natural killer (NK) cell development have been identified mostly through characterizing knock-out mice that exhibit NK deficiencies. Such studies have shown that the interaction of membrane lymphotoxin (LT) on NK cells with its receptor on stromal elements is necessary for inducing a permissive microenvironment for NK development. Also, transcription factors such as Id2, interferon regulatory factors-1 (IRF-1), IRF-2, and Ets-1 are indispensable while PU.1 has a somewhat selective role. In addition, recent studies have identified T/NK progenitors (T/NKPs) in the fetal liver that precede migration to the fetal thymus as well as the earliest committed NK precursors in the bone marrow.

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