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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 May 11;101(19):7369-74. Epub 2004 May 3.

In vivo tracking of T cell development, ablation, and engraftment in transgenic zebrafish.

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Pediatric Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02115.


Transgenic zebrafish that express GFP under control of the T cell-specific tyrosine kinase (lck) promoter were used to analyze critical aspects of the immune system, including patterns of T cell development and T cell homing after transplant. GFP-labeled T cells could be ablated in larvae by either irradiation or dexamethasone added to the water, illustrating that T cells have evolutionarily conserved responses to chemical and radiation ablation. In transplant experiments, thymocytes from lck-GFP fish repopulated the thymus of irradiated wild-type fish only transiently, suggesting that the thymus contains only short-term thymic repopulating cells. By contrast, whole kidney marrow permanently reconstituted the T lymphoid compartment of irradiated wild-type fish, suggesting that long-term thymic repopulating cells reside in the kidney.

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