Earliest Influences

Science's STKE  15 Feb 2005:
Vol. 2005, Issue 271, pp. tw68
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2712005tw68

The two main lineages of T cells to emerge from the thymus are distinguished by the T cell receptors that they carry, either αβ or γδ, which confer distinctive functional properties on each cell type. Within the thymus, the development of the two lineages has been thought to occur independently. Silva-Santos et al. (see the Perspective by Rothenberg) now show that the features peculiar to γδ T cells are not generated autonomously but are conferred directly on the cells by their immature αβ thymic counterparts. This process required signaling via a pathway already known to be essential for lymphoid organogenesis and generating effective immune responses. Thus, the developmental interaction between two lineages of T cells imparts fundamental features on one of the cell types.

B. Silva-Santos, D. J. Pennington, A. C. Hayday, Lymphotoxin-mediated regulation of γδ cell differentiation by αβ T cell progenitors. Science 307, 925-928 (2005). [Abstract] [Full Text]

E. V. Rothenberg, Thymic regulation--hidden in plain sight. Science 307, 858-859 (2005). [Summary] [Full Text]