Research Topic

Revisiting the Thymus: The Origin of T cells

About this Research Topic

T cells play a central role in orchestrating immune responses and the thymus is a unique organ that supports their development and differentiation. Within the thymus, T cell progenitors, which derive from progenitors in bone marrow lose their capacity to specialize into other immune lineages as they commit to ...

T cells play a central role in orchestrating immune responses and the thymus is a unique organ that supports their development and differentiation. Within the thymus, T cell progenitors, which derive from progenitors in bone marrow lose their capacity to specialize into other immune lineages as they commit to T cell fate by sequentially undergoing T-cell receptor (TCR) gene rearrangement, positive selection and negative selection. Successful T cell development results in the formation of naïve T cells that emigrate out of the thymus and seed peripheral tissues where they can differentiate into diverse subsets of T cells as they encounter antigens.

The T cell lineage commitment consists of an irreversible progression of distinct developmental stages, and is controlled by transcription factor cascades, thymic microenvironments and cellular signaling. Recent advances in genomics and epigenomics methods together with genetic engineering technology provide unprecedented opportunities to identify key regulators and signaling pathways underlying T cells development.

The goal of this Research Topic is to shed light on the progress in our understanding of T cell development in the thymus. We welcome Original Research, Reviews and Mini Reviews, related, but not limited to, the following topics:

1. Transcriptional, post-transcriptional or post-translational regulation of αβ T cell development, differentiation and lineage commitment
2. The interactions between T cells and thymic microenvironment, including thymic epithelial cells, stromal cells and non-T cells
3. Cell signaling pathways and epigenetic regulation of T cell development and differentiation
4. MHC-TCR recognition and formation of the TCR repertoire
5. Development of other specified T cells or lymphoid precursors in the thymus, for example γδcells, intraepithelial lymphocytes precursors (IELp), natural killer T (NKT) cells, mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells and thymic regulatory T (tTreg) cells


Keywords: Thymus, T cell development and differentiation, thymic epithelial cells, MHC, TCR repertoire, cell signaling


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Submission Deadlines

28 February 2022 Manuscript

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Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

28 February 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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