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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2016 Mar;73(5):1021-37. doi: 10.1007/s00018-015-2107-8. Epub 2016 Jan 29.

Thymic stromal cell subsets for T cell development.

Author information

1
Department of Immunology and Pathology, Research Institute, National Center for Global Health and Medicine, Chiba, 272-8516, Japan. nit-im@m.u-tokyo.ac.jp.
2
Department of Immunology and Pathology, Research Institute, National Center for Global Health and Medicine, Chiba, 272-8516, Japan. hsuzuki@ri.ncgm.go.jp.

Abstract

The thymus provides a specialized microenvironment in which a variety of stromal cells of both hematopoietic and non-hematopoietic origin regulate development and repertoire selection of T cells. Recent studies have been unraveling the inter- and intracellular signals and transcriptional networks for spatiotemporal regulation of development of thymic stromal cells, mainly thymic epithelial cells (TECs), and the molecular mechanisms of how different TEC subsets control T cell development and selection. TECs are classified into two functionally different subsets: cortical TECs (cTECs) and medullary TECs (mTECs). cTECs induce positive selection of diverse and functionally distinct T cells by virtue of unique antigen-processing systems, while mTECs are essential for establishing T cell tolerance via ectopic expression of peripheral tissue-restricted antigens and cooperation with dendritic cells. In addition to reviewing the role of the thymic stroma in conventional T cell development, we will discuss recently discovered novel functions of TECs in the development of unconventional T cells, such as natural killer T cells and γδT cells.

KEYWORDS:

Repertoire selection; T cell; Thymic epithelial cell; Thymus; cTEC; mTEC

PMID:
26825337
DOI:
10.1007/s00018-015-2107-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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