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The epithelial component of the thymic microenvironment is indispensable for the generation of T lymphocytes. Although the heterogeneity of this epithelium is well documented, little is known about precursor-progeny relationships between distinct thymic epithelial lineages. Here we characterized a thymic epithelial cell subpopulation identified by the cell surface glycoprotein MTS24. These cells contained epithelial progenitor cells that were competent and sufficient to fully reconstitute the complex thymic epithelial microenvironment that supported normal T cell development.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Immunol

Publication Date





635 - 642


Animals, Biomarkers, Cell Differentiation, Cell Lineage, DNA-Binding Proteins, Embryonic and Fetal Development, Epithelial Cells, Female, Forkhead Transcription Factors, Gene Expression, Hematopoiesis, Extramedullary, Hematopoietic Stem Cells, Homeodomain Proteins, Male, Membrane Glycoproteins, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Inbred CBA, Paired Box Transcription Factors, Stem Cell Factor, T-Lymphocytes, Thymus Gland, Transcription Factors