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Nat Commun. 2012;3:1098. doi: 10.1038/ncomms2105.

Mst1 regulates integrin-dependent thymocyte trafficking and antigen recognition in the thymus.

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Department of Molecular Genetics, Institute of Biomedical Science, 10-15 Fumizono-cho, Osaka 570-8506, Japan.


Thymocyte trafficking has an important role in thymic selection. Here we show that the Hippo homologue Mst1 is required for thymocyte migration and antigen recognition by LFA-1 and ICAM-1 within the medulla. Using two-photon imaging of thymic tissues, we found that highly motile mature thymocytes arrest and are activated in the vicinity of rare populations of Aire(+) ICAM-1(hi) medullary thymic epithelia in a negatively selecting environment. Notably, Mst1 deficiency or blocking the cell adhesion molecules LFA-1 and ICAM-1 results in inefficient migration and antigen recognition of CD4(+) thymocytes within the medulla. Consistent with these defects, thymocyte selection is impaired in Mst1(-/-) mice, which display T cell-dependent inflammatory infiltrates in multiple organs and develop autoantibodies. Our results suggest that Mst1 has a key role in regulating thymocyte self-antigen recognition in the medulla.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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