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Nat Rev Immunol. 2004 Jan;4(1):67-72.

T-cell development made simple.

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Department of Immunology, University of Toronto, Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre, 2075 Bayview Avenue, Toronto M4N 3M5, Canada.


The thymus is the primary site of T-cell lymphopoiesis. However, the precise molecular interactions that enable the thymus to carry out this function are only recently being elucidated. Although several important molecular players have been identified, including soluble factors, extracellular matrix components, and integral membrane receptors and their ligands, the precise role of these molecules in thymocyte differentiation has yet to be fully characterized. In this regard, the advent of a simple and efficient culture system for the generation of T cells from stem cells, as discussed here, should greatly facilitate the study of T-cell development.

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