Signalling through TEC kinases regulates conventional versus innate CD8(+) T-cell development

Nat Rev Immunol. 2007 Jun;7(6):479-85. doi: 10.1038/nri2091.


Recent data from three laboratories have identified the TEC kinases, ITK and RLK, as crucial regulators of CD8(+) T-cell development into the conventional lymphocyte lineage. In the absence of ITK and RLK, CD4(+)CD8(+) thymocytes upregulate the T-box transcription factor eomesodermin, and develop into mature CD8(+) T cells that resemble memory cells, exhibit immediate effector cytokine production and depend on IL-15. Furthermore, the selection of these non-conventional 'innate' T cells results from interactions with haematopoietic cells in the thymus. These findings lead to the hypothesis that altered TCR signalling, together with distinct co-stimulatory signals, is the basis for the development of non-conventional T-cell lineages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology
  • Cell Lineage
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Models, Immunological*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / immunology*
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*


  • Tec protein-tyrosine kinase
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases