Cell adhesion molecules involved in intrathymic T cell development.
During stem cell migration to the thymus, intrathymic maturation of T cells, and emigration of mature T cells out of the thymus, intercellular interactions of developing T cells with a myriad of cell types are required for normal T cell development. Intercellular interactions of T cell precursors with endothelial cells, thymic epithelial cells, fibroblasts, thymic macrophages and dendritic cells are all mediated by adhesion molecules on immature T cells binding to ligands on thymic microenvironment cells. While many receptor-ligand interactions that are important in intrathymic T cell development are known, the adhesion molecules that are important for migration of T cell precursors to the thymus and for emigration of mature thymocytes from the thymus are poorly understood. An emerging concept is that select adhesion molecules at discrete stages of T cell maturation participate in and regulate the complex processes of T cell development.
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