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Cell. 1997 Jun 27;89(7):1033-41.

Bcl-2 rescues T lymphopoiesis in interleukin-7 receptor-deficient mice.

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Department of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine, California 94305, USA.


Mice lacking functional IL-7 or IL-7R alpha genes are severely deficient in developing thymocytes, T cells, and B cells. IL-7 and IL-7 receptor functions are believed to result in lymphoid cell proliferation and cell maturation, implying signal transduction pathways directly involved in mitogenesis and elaboration of developmentally specific new gene programs. Here, we show that enforced expression of the bcl-2 gene in T-lymphoid cells (by crossing in the Emu-bcl-2 transgene) in IL-7R alpha-deficient mice results in a significant restoration of thymic positive selection and T cell numbers and function. We propose cell survival signals to be the principal function of IL-7R engagement in thymic and T cell development.

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