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Cell. 1996 Jul 26;86(2):243-51.

The MAP kinase pathway controls differentiation from double-negative to double-positive thymocyte.

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Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London, United Kingdom.


T cell development is regulated at two major control points where maturation, proliferation, and antigen receptor gene rearrangement are coordinated. Progression through these developmental control points is dependent upon the expression of different forms of the T cell receptor. Here we show that the MAP kinase cascade is a regulator of the differentiation of immature thymocytes from double-negative to double-positive cell, most probably acting as a transducer of pre-T cell receptor signaling. Furthermore, this study demonstrates the use of retrovirus-mediated gene transfer in fetal thymic organ culture in the analysis of thymic development in mutant mice, an alternative to transgenesis by oocyte injection.

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