NF-kappa B activation by the pre-T cell receptor serves as a selective survival signal in T lymphocyte development

Immunity. 2000 Nov;13(5):677-89. doi: 10.1016/s1074-7613(00)00067-4.


Activation of the transcription factor NF-kappa B and pre-T cell receptor (pre-TCR) expression is tightly correlated during thymocyte development. Inhibition of NF-kappa B in isolated thymocytes in vitro results in spontaneous apoptosis of cells expressing the pre-TCR, whereas inhibition of NF-kappa B in transgenic mice through expression of a mutated, superrepressor form of I kappa B alpha leads to a loss of beta-selected thymocytes. In contrast, the forced activation of NF-kappa B through expression of a dominant-active I kappa B kinase allows differentiation to proceed to the CD4(+)CD8(+) stage in a Rag1(-/-) mouse that cannot assemble the pre-TCR. Therefore, signals emanating from the pre-TCR are mediated at least in part by NF-kappa B, which provides a selective survival signal for developing thymocytes with productive beta chain rearrangements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • NF-kappa B / immunology*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / immunology*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • NF-kappa B
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta
  • pre-T cell receptor alpha