Signal integration and crosstalk during thymocyte migration and emigration

Nat Rev Immunol. 2011 Jun 24;11(7):469-77. doi: 10.1038/nri2989.


The thymus produces self-tolerant functionally competent T cells. This process involves the import of multipotent haematopoietic progenitors that are then signalled to adopt the T cell fate. Expression of T cell-specific genes, including those encoding the T cell receptor (TCR), is followed by positive and negative selection and the eventual export of mature T cells. Significant progress has been made in elucidating the signals that direct progenitor cell trafficking to, within and out of the thymus. These advances are the subject of this Review, with a particular focus on the role of reciprocal cooperative and regulatory interactions between TCR- and chemokine receptor-mediated signalling.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Immunological
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / immunology
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / metabolism
  • Receptors, Chemokine / immunology
  • Receptors, Chemokine / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*
  • Stem Cells / immunology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Thymus Gland / cytology
  • Thymus Gland / immunology*
  • Thymus Gland / metabolism


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Receptors, Chemokine