Interleukin 7 Receptor-Deficient Mice Lack Gammadelta T Cells

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Jul 9;93(14):7172-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.93.14.7172.


The interleukin 7 receptor (IL-7R) plays a crucial role in early B- and T-cell development. It consists of a unique a chain and a common gamma chain [IL-2 receptor gamma chain (IL-2Rgamma)]. Gene inactivation of IL-7, IL-7R, and IL-2Rgamma resulted in severe impairment of B and T lymphopoiesis in mice. In addition, IL-2Rgamma-deficient mice lack gammadelta T cells in the skin and have the impaired development of natural killer (NK) cells and intraepithelial lymphocytes. To explore the role of IL-7/IL-7R system in gammadelta T- and NK-cell development, we have generated and analyzed IL-7R-deficient mice. gammadelta T cells were absent from skin, gut, liver, and spleen in the deficient mice. In contrast, alphabeta T and B cells were detected in reduced, but certain, numbers, and NK cells developed normally. The gammadelta T-cell development in fetal and adult thymus was also completely blocked. These results clearly demonstrate that the signal from IL-7R is indispensable for gammadelta T-cell development in both thymic and extrathymic pathways. On the contrary, it is suggested that NK-cell development requires cytokine(s) other than IL-7.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / genetics*
  • Antigens, CD / physiology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Base Sequence
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • DNA Primers
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Genomic Library
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / genetics
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / immunology
  • Intestines / immunology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology*
  • Liver / immunology
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta*
  • Receptors, Interleukin / genetics*
  • Receptors, Interleukin / physiology*
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7
  • Restriction Mapping
  • Skin / immunology
  • Spleen / immunology
  • Stem Cells
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Antigens, CD
  • DNA Primers
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta
  • Receptors, Interleukin
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7