Cellular signaling in thymocyte apoptosis

David J. McConkey, Mikael Jondal, Sten Orrenius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Induction of apoptosis (programmed cell death) in response to T cell receptor triggering is now thought to be involved in the process of negative selection in the thymus, and current work is therefore aimed at investigating how apoptosis is regulated within the cells. To this end, recent work has implicated several of the well-known signal transduction pathways already known to regulate T cell activation in the regulation of apoptosis in thymocytes. In particular, elevations of the cytosolic Ca2+ level or increases in cAMP can trigger thymocyte apoptosis, whereas activation of protein kinase C appears to inhibit apoptosis in response to either induction pathway. Moreover, crosslinking of Thy-1, CD4, or CD8 leads to potentiation of T cell receptor-mediated cell death, effects that appear to involve protein tyrosine kinase activation. These observations may be relevant to the question of how T cell receptor occupancy can mediate both differentiation and death during intrathymic T cell development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-377
Number of pages7
JournalSeminars in immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Calcium
  • Programmed cell death
  • Protein kinase A
  • Protein kinase C
  • Protein tyrosine kinases
  • Signal transduction
  • Thymic selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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