TCF-1 upregulation identifies early innate lymphoid progenitors in the bone marrow

Nat Immunol. 2015 Oct;16(10):1044-50. doi: 10.1038/ni.3248. Epub 2015 Aug 17.


The cellular and molecular events that drive the early development of innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) remain poorly understood. We show that the transcription factor TCF-1 is required for the efficient generation of all known adult ILC subsets and their precursors. Using novel reporter mice, we identified a new subset of early ILC progenitors (EILPs) expressing high amounts of TCF-1. EILPs lacked efficient T and B lymphocyte potential but efficiently gave rise to NK cells and all known adult helper ILC lineages, indicating that they are the earliest ILC-committed progenitors identified so far. Our results suggest that upregulation of TCF-1 expression denotes the earliest stage of ILC fate specification. The discovery of EILPs provides a basis for deciphering additional signals that specify ILC fate.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology*
  • Bone Marrow Cells / immunology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Lymphocytes / cytology*
  • Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Microarray Analysis
  • T Cell Transcription Factor 1 / genetics*
  • T Cell Transcription Factor 1 / metabolism
  • Up-Regulation*


  • T Cell Transcription Factor 1

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE69789