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 crucial for the selection of a T-cell-receptor (TCR) repertoire purged of self-reactive specificities, because these cells activate a promiscuous gene-expression program that leads to the synthesis of a wide array of peripheral tissue-restricted self-antigens. This review summarizes recent progress in our understanding of the cellular interactions, ligands, receptors and signal-transduction pathways that control mature-mTEC development. The particular focus is on new findings supporting the model that mature-mTEC development in the postnatal thymus depends on nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) signaling induced by CD40-CD40 ligand, and receptor-activator-of-NF-kappaB (RANK)-RANK ligand interactions, and that these signals are delivered in the context of antigen-specific interactions between CD4(+) thymocytes carrying autoreactive TCRs and mTECs displaying cognate autoantigen-MHC-class-II complexes.

Original publication




Journal article


Trends Immunol

Publication Date





71 - 79


Animals, Autoimmunity, CD4 Antigens, Epithelial Cells, Humans, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, Self Tolerance, Signal Transduction, Thymus Gland