An activated form of Notch influences the choice between CD4 and CD8 T cell lineages

Cell. 1996 Nov 1;87(3):483-92. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(00)81368-9.


Notch is a transmembrane receptor that controls cell fate decisions in Drosophila and whose role in mammalian cell fate decisions is beginning to be explored. We are investigating the role of Notch in a well-studied mammalian cell fate decision: the choice between the CD8 and CD4 T cell lineages. Here we report that expression of an activated form of Notch1 in developing T cells of the mouse leads to both an increase in CD8 lineage T cells and a decrease in CD4 lineage T cells. Expression of activated Notch permits the development of mature CD8 lineage thymocytes even in the absence of class I major histocompatability complex (MHC) proteins, ligands that are normally required for the development of these cells. However, activated Notch is not sufficient to promote CD8 cell development when both class I and class II MHC are absent. These results implicate Notch as a participant in the CD4 versus CD8 lineage decision.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Lineage / genetics
  • H-2 Antigens / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred CBA
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Radiation Chimera
  • Receptors, Notch
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Thymus Gland / cytology
  • beta 2-Microglobulin / deficiency
  • beta 2-Microglobulin / genetics


  • H-2 Antigens
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Receptors, Notch
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • beta 2-Microglobulin