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Thymic homing of hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) is tightly regulated for proper T cell development. Previously we have identified a subset of specialized thymic portal endothelial cells (TPECs), which is important for thymic HPC homing. However, the underlying molecular mechanism still remains unknown. Here, we found that signal regulatory protein alpha (SIRPα) is preferentially expressed on TPECs. Disruption of CD47-SIRPα signaling in mice resulted in reduced number of thymic early T cell progenitors (ETPs), impaired thymic HPC homing, and altered early development of thymocytes. Mechanistically, Sirpa-deficient ECs and Cd47-deficient bone marrow progenitor cells or T lymphocytes demonstrated impaired transendothelial migration (TEM). Specifically, SIRPα intracellular ITIM motif-initiated downstream signaling in ECs was found to be required for TEM in an SHP2- and Src-dependent manner. Furthermore, CD47 signaling from migrating cells and SIRPα intracellular signaling were found to be required for VE-cadherin endocytosis in ECs. Thus, our study reveals a novel role of endothelial SIRPα signaling for thymic HPC homing for T cell development. © 2022, Ren et al.


Boyang Ren, Huan Xia, Yijun Liao, Hang Zhou, Zhongnan Wang, Yaoyao Shi, Mingzhao Zhu. Endothelial SIRPα signaling controls VE-cadherin endocytosis for thymic homing of progenitor cells. eLife. 2022 May 05;11

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PMID: 35511221

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