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Front. Immunol. | doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.00375

MAKING THYMUS VISIBLE: UNDERSTANDING T-CELL DEVELOPMENT FROM A NEW PERSPECTIVE

 Baubak Bajoghli1* and Narges Aghaallaei1
  • 1Department of Hematology, Oncology, Clinical Immunology, Rheumatology and Pulmonology, Universitätsklinikum Tübingen, Germany

T-cell development is coupled with a highly ordered migratory pattern. Lymphoid progenitors must follow a precise journey; starting from the hematopoietic tissue, they move towards the thymus and then migrate into and out of distinct thymic microenvironments, where they receive signals and cues required for their differentiation into naïve T-cells. Knowing where, when, and how these cells make directional “decisions” is key to understanding T-cell development. Such insights can be gained by directly observing developing T-cells within their environment under various conditions and following specific experimental manipulations. In the last decade, several model systems have been developed to address temporal and spatial aspects of T-cell development using imaging approaches. In this perspective article, we discuss the advantages and limitations of these systems and highlight a particularly powerful in vivo model that has been recently established. This model system enables the migratory behavior of all thymocytes to be studied simultaneously in a noninvasive and quantitative manner, making it possible to perform systems-level studies that reveal fundamental principles governing T-cell dynamics during development and in disease.

Keywords: Chemokines

Received: 16 Dec 2017; Accepted: 09 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Remy Bosselut, National Cancer Institute (NIH), United States

Reviewed by:

David L. Wiest, Fox Chase Cancer Center, United States
Avinash Bhandoola, National Institutes of Health (NIH), United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Bajoghli and Aghaallaei. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Baubak Bajoghli, Universitätsklinikum Tübingen, Department of Hematology, Oncology, Clinical Immunology, Rheumatology and Pulmonology, Otfried-Müller-Strasse 10, Tübingen, 72076, Germany, Baubak.Bajoghli@med.uni-tuebingen.de