Mice lacking functional IL-7 or IL-7Rα genes are severely deficient in developing thymocytes, T cells, and B cells. IL-7 and IL-7 receptor functions are believed to result in lymphoid cell proliferation and cell maturation, implying signal transduction pathways directly involved in mitogenesis and elaboration of developmentally specific new gene programs. Here, we show that enforced expression of the bcl-2 gene in T-lymphoid cells (by crossing in the Eμ-bcl-2 transgene) in IL-7Rα-deficient mice results in a significant restoration of thymic positive selection and T cell numbers and function. We propose cell survival signals to be the principal function of IL-7R engagement in thymic and T cell development.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)