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Nat Rev Immunol. 2007 Feb;7(2):144-54.

Interleukin-7 receptor expression: intelligent design.

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Laboratory of Molecular Immunoregulation, Cancer and Inflammation Program, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Building 560, Room 31-71, Frederick, Maryland 21702-1201, USA.


Interleukin-7 (IL-7) is produced by stromal cells in lymphoid tissues and is required for the development of T cells and for their persistence in the periphery. Unlike many other cytokines that act on lymphocytes, IL-7 production by stromal cells is not substantially affected by extrinsic stimuli. So, the amount of available IL-7 protein is thought to be regulated by the rate that it is scavenged by T cells. As we review here, there is mounting evidence indicating that the amount of IL-7 receptor expressed on a cell not only determines how vigorously the cell responds to IL-7, but it can also determine how efficiently the cell consumes IL-7 and, therefore, affect the supply of this limiting resource in the niche.

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