Innate Lymphoid Cell Relations

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Science  29 Oct 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6004, pp. 594-595
DOI: 10.1126/science.1198298

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The immune response against invading pathogens involves many cell types, including rare immune cells whose roles are being teased out. These include the ambiguously named innate lymphoid cells (ILCs), which lack markers of mature lymphoid cells yet bear receptors commonly found on lymphoid progenitors. Their strategic position in the gastrointestinal tract and their capacity to secrete large amounts of immune response mediators (cytokines) make them a force to be reckoned with. But the diverse nature of the many ILC subtypes raises questions about their origin. On page 665 of this issue, Sawa et al. explore the developmental relationship of ILCs that express the transcription factor retinoic acid receptor–related orphan receptor γt (RORγt) (1) and report that distinct subsets do derive from a common precursor cell, but themselves do not give rise to further progenitors.