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Immunity. 1996 Nov;5(5):391-405.

Vanin-1, a novel GPI-linked perivascular molecule involved in thymus homing.

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Centre d'Immunologie, INSERM-Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Marseille, France.


Migration of hematopoietic precursor cells to the thymus is shown to depend upon a novel molecule called Vanin-1 expressed by perivascular thymic stromal cells. An anti-Vanin-1 antibody blocks the binding of pro-T cells to thymic sections in vitro, the in vivo accumulation of bone marrow cells around cortical thymic vessels, and long-term thymic regeneration. Thus, it interferes with the entry, and not the differentiation, of hematopoietic precursor cells. The Vanin-1 gene codes for a GPI-anchored 70 kDa protein that shows homology only with human biotinidase. Transfection of thymic stromal cells with the Vanin-1 cDNA enhances thymocyte adhesion in vitro. These data suggest that Vanin-1 regulates late adhesion steps of thymus homing under physiological, noninflammatory conditions.

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