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Although bone marrow (BM) is the main site of natural killer (NK)-cell development in adult mice, recent studies have identified a distinct thymic-dependent NK pathway, implicating a possible close link between NK- and T-cell development in adult hematopoiesis. To investigate whether a potential NK-/T-lineage restriction of multipotent progenitors might take place already in the BM, we tested the full lineage potentials of NK-cell progenitors in adult BM. Notably, although Lin(-)CD122(+)NK1.1(-)DX5(-) NK-cell progenitors failed to commit to the B and myeloid lineages, they sustained a combined NK- and T-cell potential in vivo and in vitro at the single-cell level. Whereas T-cell development from NK/T progenitors is Notch-dependent, their contribution to thymic and BM NK cells remains Notch-independent. These findings demonstrate the existence of bipotent NK-/T-cell progenitors in adult BM.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





183 - 192


Animals, Bone Marrow Cells, Cell Differentiation, Cell Lineage, Cell Separation, Flow Cytometry, Hematopoiesis, Hematopoietic Stem Cells, Killer Cells, Natural, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Multipotent Stem Cells, Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction, T-Lymphocytes, Thymus Gland