T-cell homing to the gut mucosa: general concepts and methodological considerations

Methods Mol Biol. 2012;757:411-34. doi: 10.1007/978-1-61779-166-6_24.


Effector/memory T cells can migrate to most extra-lymphoid tissues in the body. However, migration to the intestinal mucosa requires the expression of very specific homing receptors on T cells, integrin α4β7 and chemokine receptor CCR9. These receptors are induced by all-trans retinoic acid (RA), a vitamin A metabolite that is specifically synthesized by gut-associated dendritic cells (DC), but not by extra-intestinal DC. Here we summarize some general concepts on T cell homing with an emphasis on the gut mucosa. We also discuss experimental strategies to generate gut-homing T cells in vivo and in vitro and the techniques to track gut-homing T cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Melanoma, Experimental
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Receptors, Lymphocyte Homing / immunology
  • Receptors, Lymphocyte Homing / metabolism
  • Staining and Labeling
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism


  • Receptors, Lymphocyte Homing