Research ArticleImmunology

Regulation of thymocyte trafficking by Tagap, a GAP domain protein linked to human autoimmunity

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Sci. Signal.  12 Jun 2018:
Vol. 11, Issue 534, eaan8799
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aan8799

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Letting thymocytes go

During the process of T cell development, thymocytes must travel from the cortex of the thymus to the medulla, where any potentially autoreactive cells are removed by negative selection. This translocation is mediated by interactions between sema3E, which is secreted from the medulla, and its receptor plexin-D1, which is present on thymocytes in the cortex. Duke-Cohan et al. found that mouse thymocytes lacking the GTPase-activating protein Tagap had defective sema3E/plexin-D1 signaling and thus failed to detach from the cortex. Given that single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the gene encoding TAGAP are associated with autoimmune disorders, these data suggest that Tagap facilitates the trafficking required for the efficient negative selection of autoreactive cells.