Science for Health
All lymphocytes derive from haematopoietic stem cells, which are located in specialised niches within the bone marrow. In the adult, these stem cells are relatively immobile. However, in the foetus, or in response to some infections in the adult, these stem cells leave the bone marrow and appear in the blood. Our main focus is on understanding the processes that govern retention of stem cells in the bone marrow or their release into the blood and migration to other organs, and their subsequent development into lymphocytes.
We have shown that in the absence of β1 integrin, haematopoietic progenitors are generated normally during ontogeny in the embryo and are released into the circulation, but fail to colonise foetal liver, thymus or bone marrow. Extending this study we comprehensively analysed T cell development using a genetic approach based on the lineage restricted expression of a fluorescent reporter. Ongoing work is concentrating on the dynamic regulation of lymphoid differentiation and the role of adhesion molecules for the proper compartmentalisation in health and disease.
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