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TOX: an HMG box protein implicated in the regulation of thymocyte selection.

In the thymus, pre-T cell receptor (pre-TCR)--mediated signaling and then TCR-mediated signaling initiate changes in gene expression that result in the maturation of CD4 and CD8 lineage T cells from common precursors. Using gene chip technology, we isolated a murine gene, designated Tox, that encodes a member of the HMG (high-mobility group) box family of DNA-binding proteins. TOX expression is up-regulated by both pre-TCR and TCR activation of immature thymocytes but not by TCR activation of mature naïve T cells. Transgenic mice that express TOX show expanded CD8+ and reduced CD4+ single positive thymocyte subpopulations. We present evidence here that this phenotype results from a perturbation in lineage commitment due to reduced sensitivity to TCR-mediated signaling. This molecular marker of thymic selection events may therefore play a role in establishing the activation threshold of developing T cells and patterning changes in gene expression.

Pubmed ID: 11850626


  • Wilkinson B
  • Chen JY
  • Han P
  • Rufner KM
  • Goularte OD
  • Kaye J


Nature immunology

Publication Data

March 4, 2002

Associated Grants

  • Agency: NIAID NIH HHS, Id: AI44110

Mesh Terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD5
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • HMGB Proteins
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • T-Lymphocytes
  • Up-Regulation