T cells develop in the thymus from blood-borne progenitors derived from haematopoietic tissues. Amongst the mechanisms by which stromal cells in thymic and prethymic tissues influence lymphoid progenitors, recent attention has focussed on the importance of Notch signalling in early T cell development. Here, we review evidence that developing T cells and their progenitors receive signals through Notch receptors as a result of interactions with Notch ligands expressed by stromal cells. In particular, we focus on the role of Notch ligand-expressing stromal cells in regulating key control points during pre- and intrathymic phases of T cell development.
- T cell development
- lymphoid progenitor