Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 15767371
J. Exp. Med. 2005 Mar;201(6):971-9
Interleukin-7 (IL-7) promotes survival and expansion of lymphoid precursors. We show here that, in addition, IL-7 has a fundamental role, as early as the stage of the multipotent (B/T/NK) common lymphoid progenitor (CLP), in maintaining the B cell differentiation program open. CLPs generated in the absence of IL-7 have normal T/NK differentiation potential, but severely impaired B potential. Accordingly, CLPs from IL-7-deficient mice express lower amounts of early B cell factor (EBF) and Pax5 than wild-type CLPs, but similar amounts of GATA-3. Importantly, induced overexpression of EBF is sufficient to restore the B potential in these cells. These results indicate that IL-7 directs commitment of CLPs by modulating EBF expression. This is the first example of a cytokine influencing lymphoid lineage commitment in multipotent progenitors and highlights the relevance of the expression of a functional IL-7 receptor at the CLP stage.