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Progression of T cell lineage restriction in the earliest subpopulation of murine adult thymus visualized by the expression of lck proximal promoter activity.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
International immunology
Publication Date
Volume
13
Issue
1
Pages
105–117
Identifiers
PMID: 11133839
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The proximal promoter of lck directs gene expression exclusively in T cells. To investigate the developmental regulation of the lck proximal promoter activity and its relationship to T cell lineage commitment, a green fluorescence protein (GFP) transgenic (Tg) mouse in which the GFP expression is under the control of the proximal promoter of lck was created. In the adult GFP-Tg mice, >90% of CD4(+)CD8(+) and CD4(+)CD8(-) thymocytes, and the majority of CD4(-)CD8(+) and CD4(-)CD8(-) [double-negative (DN)] thymocytes were highly positive for GFP. Slightly lower but substantial levels of expression of GFP was also observed in mature splenic T cells. No GFP(+) cells was detected in non-T lineage subsets, including mature and immature B cells, CD5(+) B cells, and NK cells, indicating a preserved tissue specificity of the promoter. The earliest GFP(+) cells detected were found in the CD44(+)CD25(-) DN thymocyte subpopulation. The developmental potential of GFP(-) and GFP(+) cells in the CD44(+)CD25(-) DN fraction was examined using in vitro culture systems. The generation of substantial numbers of alphabeta and gammadelta T cells as well as NK cells was demonstrated from both GFP(-) and GFP(+) cells. However, no development of B cells or dendritic cells was detected from GFP(+) CD44(+)CD25(-) DN thymocytes. These results suggest that the progenitors expressing lck proximal promoter activity in the CD44(+)CD25(-) DN thymocyte subset have lost most of the progenitor potential for the B and dendritic cell lineage. Thus, progression of T cell lineage restriction in the earliest thymic population can be visualized by lck proximal promoter activity, suggesting a potential role of Lck in the T cell lineage commitment.

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