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Article
Nature Immunology - 7, 1217 - 1224 (2006)
Published online: 1 October 2006; Corrected online: 03 November 2006 | doi:10.1038/ni1395


There is an Erratum (December 2006) associated with this Article.

A thymic pathway of mouse natural killer cell development characterized by expression of GATA-3 and CD127

Christian A J Vosshenrich1, Marcos E García-Ojeda1, Sandrine I Samson-Villéger1, Valerie Pasqualetto2, Laurence Enault1, Odile Richard-Le Goff1, Erwan Corcuff1, Delphine Guy-Grand1, Benedita Rocha2, Ana Cumano3, Lars Rogge4, Sophie Ezine2 & James P Di Santo1

1  Unité des Cytokines et Développement Lymphoide, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale U668, Institut Pasteur, Paris F-75724, France.

2  Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale U591, Faculté Necker Enfants Malades, Paris F-75015, France.

3  Unité de Développement des Lymphocytes, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale U668, Institut Pasteur, Paris F-75724, France

4  G5 Immunoregulation, Institut Pasteur, Paris F-75724, France.

Correspondence should be addressed to James P Di Santo disanto@pasteur.fr

Natural killer (NK) cell development is thought to occur in the bone marrow. Here we identify the transcription factor GATA-3 and CD127 (IL-7Ralpha) as molecular markers of a pathway of mouse NK cell development that originates in the thymus. Thymus-derived CD127+ NK cells repopulated peripheral lymphoid organs, and their homeostasis was strictly dependent on GATA-3 and interleukin 7. The CD127+ NK cells had a distinct phenotype (CD11bloCD16-CD69hiLy49lo) and unusual functional attributes, including reduced cytotoxicity but considerable cytokine production. Those characteristics are reminiscent of human CD56hiCD16- NK cells, which we found expressed CD127 and had more GATA-3 expression than human CD56+CD16+ NK cells. We propose that bone marrow and thymic NK cell pathways generate distinct mouse NK cells with properties similar to those of the two human CD56 NK cell subsets.

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Nature Immunology
ISSN: 1529-2908
EISSN: 1529-2916
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