During the course of evolution, the immune system has developed to defend us against infections by creating a diverse number of specialized cell types. B-lymphocytes are produced by the differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) into gradually more lineage-restricted progenitors. This B cell pathway requires the coordinate action of the early transcription factors PU.1 and Ikaros prior to the activation of the B-cell-specific regulators E2A, EBF and Pax5. In addition, interleukin-7 (IL-7) signalling instructs the initial differentiation of B-lymphocytes from the common lymphoid progenitor. This project will investigate how IL-7 signalling, through activation of the transcription factor STAT5, is integrated into the transcriptional control of early B c ell development.
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