In jawed vertebrates, development of an adaptive immune-system is essential for protection of the born organism against otherwise life-threatening pathogens. Myeloid cells of the innate immune system are formed early in development, whereas lymphopoiesis has been suggested to initiate much later, following emergence of definitive hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Herein, we demonstrate that the embryonic lymphoid commitment process initiates earlier than previously appreciated, prior to emergence of definitive HSCs, through establishment of a previously unrecognized entirely immune-restricted and lymphoid-primed progenitor. Notably, this immune-restricted progenitor appears to first emerge in the yolk sac and contributes physiologically to the establishment of lymphoid and some myeloid components of the immune-system, establishing the lymphomyeloid lineage restriction process as an early and physiologically important lineage-commitment step in mammalian hematopoiesis.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.