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ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-120223-12
Intravital Imaging of Thymopoiesis Reveals Dynamic Lympho-Epithelial Interactions
Hess, I., and Boehm, T.
Date: 2012
Source: Immunity   36(2): 298-309 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Boehm, Tom, Hess, Isabell
Keywords: none
MeSH Terms:
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Blood Circulation
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Movement
  • Cellular Microenvironment
  • Chemotaxis, Leukocyte
  • Embryonic Stem Cells/cytology
  • Embryonic Stem Cells/immunology
  • Epithelium/embryology
  • Lymphopoiesis/physiology*
  • Mice
  • Models, Immunological
  • T-Lymphocytes/cytology*
  • T-Lymphocytes/physiology*
  • Thymus Gland/cytology
  • Thymus Gland/embryology*
  • Thymus Gland/immunology
  • Zebrafish/embryology
  • Zebrafish/genetics
  • Zebrafish/physiology
PubMed: 22342843 Full text @ Immunity

T cell development occurs in the thymus. The thymic microenvironment attracts hematopoietic progenitors, specifies them toward the T cell lineage, and orchestrates their differentiation and egress into the periphery. The anatomical location of the thymus and the intrauterine development of mouse embryos have so far precluded a direct visualization of the initial steps of thymopoiesis. Here, we describe transgenic zebrafish lines enabling the in vivo observation of thymopoiesis. The cell-autonomous proliferation of thymic epithelial cells, their morphological transformation into a reticular meshwork upon contact with hematopoietic cells, and the multiple migration routes of thymus-settling cells could be directly visualized. The unexpectedly dynamic thymus homing process is chemokine driven and independent of blood circulation. Thymocyte development appears to be completed in less than 4 days. Our work establishes a versatile model for the in vivo observation and manipulation of thymopoiesis.