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Eur J Immunol. 2016 Apr;46(4):846-56. doi: 10.1002/eji.201545995. Epub 2016 Jan 18.

Dynamic spatio-temporal contribution of single β5t+ cortical epithelial precursors to the thymus medulla.

Author information

1
Department of Biomedicine, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.
2
Division of Experimental Immunology, Institute for Genome Research, University of Tokushima, Japan.
3
The Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.
4
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute-EBI Single Cell Genomics Centre, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge, UK.
5
Department of Paediatrics and the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.
6
MRC Functional Genomics Unit, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

Abstract

Intrathymic T-cell development is critically dependent on cortical and medullary thymic epithelial cells (TECs). Both epithelial subsets originate during early thymus organogenesis from progenitor cells that express the thymoproteasome subunit β5t, a typical feature of cortical TECs. Using in vivo lineage fate mapping, we demonstrate in mice that β5t(+) TEC progenitors give rise to the medullary TEC compartment early in life but significantly limit their contribution once the medulla has completely formed. Lineage-tracing studies at single cell resolution demonstrate for young mice that the postnatal medulla is expanded from individual β5t(+) cortical progenitors located at the cortico-medullary junction. These results therefore not only define a developmental window during which the expansion of medulla is efficiently enabled by progenitors resident in the thymic cortex, but also reveal the spatio-temporal dynamics that control the growth of the thymic medulla.

KEYWORDS:

Development; Epithelial cell; Medulla; Thymic progenitor cell; β5t

PMID:
26694097
PMCID:
PMC4832341
DOI:
10.1002/eji.201545995
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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