Fine-tuning T cell receptor signaling to control T cell development.
Fu G., Rybakin V., Brzostek J., Paster W., Acuto O., Gascoigne NRJ.
T cell development from immature CD4(+)CD8(+) double-positive (DP) thymocytes to the mature CD4 or CD8 single-positive (SP) stage requires proper T cell receptor (TCR) signaling. The current working model of thymocyte development is that the strength of the TCR-mediated signal - from little-or-none, through intermediate, to strong - received by the immature cells determines whether they will undergo death by neglect, positive selection, or negative selection, respectively. In recent years, several developmentally regulated, stage-specifically expressed proteins and miRNAs have been found that act like fine-tuners for signal transduction and propagation downstream of the TCR. This allows them to govern thymocyte positive selection. Here, we summarize recent findings on these molecules and suggest new concepts of TCR positive-selection signaling.