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Sci. Signal., 2 November 2010
Vol. 3, Issue 146, p. ec339
[DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.3146ec339]


Immunology Innate Innit?

Kristen L. Mueller

Science, AAAS, Washington, DC 20005, USA

Innate lymphocytes (ILCs) are a recently described population of immune cells that produce cytokines like those associated with T helper cells but lack the recombined antigen receptors characteristic of T cells. Again, like some T helper cell lineages, a proportion of ILCs express the transcription factor ROR{gamma}t. These include lymphoid tissue–inducer (LTi) cells required for fetal lymphoid tissue organogenesis and a population of natural killer (NK)–like cells that function in gut immune responses. Sawa et al. (see the Perspective by Veldhoen and Withers) wondered whether the ROR{gamma}t-expressing ILCs all develop from the same progenitor population. Indeed, they found a fetal liver progenitor that gave rise to several phenotypically distinct populations. However, the LTi cells were not progenitors for the NK-like cells. It seems the trajectory of different ILC populations is developmentally regulated, and postnatally ILCs are favored that play a role in intestinal defense before the gut is fully colonized by intestinal microbiota.

S. Sawa, M. Cherrier, M. Lochner, N. Satoh-Takayama, H. J. Fehling, F. Langa, J. P. Di Santo, G. Eberl, Lineage relationship analysis of ROR{gamma}t+ innate lymphoid cells. Science 330, 665–669 (2010). [Abstract] [Full Text]

M. Veldhoen, D. R. Withers, Innate lymphoid cell relations. Science 330, 594–595 (2010). [Abstract] [Full Text]

Citation: K. L. Mueller, Innate Innit? Sci. Signal. 3, ec339 (2010).

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