Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 20889548
J. Immunol. 2010 Nov;185(9):4993-7
Although NK cells in the mouse are thought to develop in the bone marrow, a small population of NK cells in the thymus has been shown to derive from a GATA3-dependent pathway. Characteristically, thymic NK cells express CD127 and few Ly49 molecules and lack CD11b. Because these NK cells develop in the thymus, the question of their relationship to the T cell lineage has been raised. Using several different mouse models, we find that unlike T cells, thymic NK cells are not the progeny of Rorc-expressing progenitors and do not express Rag2 or rearrange the TCRγ locus. We further demonstrate that thymic NK cells develop independently of the Notch signaling pathway, supporting the idea that thymic NK cells represent bona fide NK cells that can develop independently of all T cell precursors.