Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 11854357
J. Exp. Med. 2002 Feb;195(4):437-49
Gut intraepithelial CD8 T lymphocytes (T-IEL) are distinct from thymus-derived cells and are thought to derive locally from cryptopatch (CP) precursors. The intermediate stages of differentiation between CP and mature T-IEL were not identified, and the local differentiation process was not characterized. We identified and characterized six phenotypically distinct lineage-negative populations in the CP and the gut epithelium: (a) we determined the kinetics of their generation from bone marrow precursors; (b) we quantified CD3-epsilon, recombination activating gene (Rag)-1, and pre-Talpha mRNAs expression at single cell level; (c) we characterized TCR-beta, -gamma, and -alpha locus rearrangements; and (d) we studied the impact of different mutations on the local differentiation. These data allowed us to establish a sequence of T cell precursor differentiation in the gut. We also observed that the gut differentiation varied from that of the thymus by a very low frequency of pre-Talpha chain mRNA expression, a different kinetics of Rag-1 mRNA expression, and a much higher impact of CD3 epsilon/delta and pre-Talpha deficiencies. Finally, only 3% of CP cells were clearly involved in T cell differentiation, suggesting that these structures may have additional physiological roles in the gut.