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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Thymocyte development past the CD4(+)CD8(+) stage requires an active p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase.

Activation of the p38 mitogen- activated protein kinase ( MAPK) pathway is important for some T-cell functions, but its role in intrathymic development is unclear. To investigate the function of p38 MAPK during the late stages of thymocyte differentiation, pharmacologic and genetic manipulations were used to inhibit p38 MAPK activity in developing thymocytes. Ligation of the T-cell antigen receptor (TCR) on either thymocytes or a thymocyte cell line resulted in p38 MAPK activation. Selective pharmacologic inhibition of p38 MAPK activity with the pyridinyl imidazole drug SB203580 severely impaired the development of mature CD4(+) and CD8(+) single positive (SP) thymocytes from their CD4(+)CD8(+) double positive (DP) precursors in fetal thymic organ culture (FTOC). Further, pharmacologic or genetic suppression of p38 MAPK activity, the latter achieved by overexpressing a catalytically inactive p38 MAPK, resulted in a blockade of the DP-to-SP transition of a thymocyte cell line in a novel in vitro differentiation assay. Taken together, these data constitute the first demonstration that p38 MAPK plays a critical role in the DP-to-SP differentiation of thymocytes during late intrathymic development. (Blood. 2000;95:1356-1361)[1]


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