Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Medullary thymic epithelial cells (mTECs) are critical in establishing and maintaining the appropriate microenvironment for negative selection and maturation of immunocompetent T cells with a self-tolerant T cell antigen receptor repertoire. Cues that direct proliferation and maturation of mTECs are provided by members of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) superfamily expressed on developing thymocytes. Here we demonstrate a negative role of the morphogen TGF-β in tempering these signals under physiological conditions, limiting both growth and function of the thymic medulla. Eliminating TGF-β signaling specifically in TECs or by pharmacological means increased the size of the mTEC compartment, enhanced negative selection and functional maturation of medullary thymocytes as well as the production of regulatory T cells, thus reducing the autoreactive potential of peripheral T cells. © 2014 Nature America, Inc.

Original publication




Journal article


Nature Immunology

Publication Date





554 - 561