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Annu Rev Immunol. 2013;31:31-50. doi: 10.1146/annurev-immunol-032712-100010. Epub 2012 Nov 1.

The biology of recent thymic emigrants.

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1
Department of Immunology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA. pfink@uw.edu

Abstract

The generation of the TCRαβ lineage of T cells occurs in the thymus through a series of orchestrated developmental events that result in a carefully selected population of CD4 or CD8 lineage-committed TCR(+) thymocytes capable of recognizing foreign antigen in the context of self MHC. T cells first exit the thymus in a phenotypically and functionally immature state and require an approximately 3-week period of post-thymic maturation before transitioning into the mature T cell compartment. A greater understanding of recent thymic emigrant biology has come with the development of methods to exclusively identify and isolate this population for further characterization. I now review current knowledge about the phenotype and function of this key but understudied population of peripheral T cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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