Publication: EphB2 and EphB3 play an important role in the lymphoid seeding of murine adult thymus
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Adult thymuses lacking either ephrin type B receptor 2 (EphB2) or EphB3, or expressing a truncated form of EphB2, the forward signal-deficient EphB2LacZ, have low numbers of early thymic progenitors (ETPs) and are colonized in vivo by reduced numbers of injected bone marrow (BM) lineage-negative (Lin2) cells. Hematopoietic progenitors from these EphB mutants showed decreased capacities to colonize wild type (WT) thymuses compared with WT precursors, with EphB22/2 cells exhibiting the greatest reduction. WT BM Lin2 cells also showed decreased colonizing capacity into mutant thymuses. The reduction was also more severe in EphB22/2 host thymuses, with a less severe phenotype in the EphB2LacZ thymus. These results suggest a major function for forward signaling through EphB2 and, to a lesser extent, EphB3, in either colonizing progenitor cells or thymic stromal cells, for in vivo adult thymus recruitment. Furthermore, the altered expression of the molecules involved in thymic colonization that occurs in the mutant thymus correlates with the observed colonizing capacities of different mutant mice. Reduced production of CCL21 and CCL25 occurred in the thymus of the 3 EphB-deficient mice, but their expression, similar to that of P-selectin, on blood vessels, the method of entry of progenitor cells into the vascular thymus, only showed a significant reduction in EphB22/2 and EphB32/2 thymuses. Decreased migration into the EphB22/2 thymuses correlated also with reduced expression of both ephrinB1 and ephrinB2, without changes in the EphB2LacZ thymuses. In the EphB32/2 thymuses, only ephrinB1 expression appeared significantly diminished, confirming the relevance of forward signals mediated by the EphB2-ephrinB1 pair in cell recruitment into the adult thymus. J. Leukoc. Biol. 98: 883–896; 2015.