A murine stromal cell line (OP9-DL1) expressing a notch ligand, Delta-like-1, has been shown to be able to drive the differentiation of both murine and human hematopoietic progenitors into T cells in vitro. Further studies showed that hematopoietic progenitors transduced by a retroviral vector to express a human CD8 T-cell receptor (TCR) followed by an OP9-DL1 monolayer coculture could generate antigen-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes in vitro. It remains unknown if a similar method could be applied to produce CD4 helper T cells. In this report, we show that murine adult bone marrow (BM) cells transduced with an OT2 CD4 TCR and cocultured with OP9 stromal cells expressing Delta-like-1 can differentiate into antigen-specific CD4 T cells in vitro. These cells are capable of inducing the expression of T-cell activation markers and producing cytokines upon stimulation. We have also constructed a new stromal cell line (OP9-DL1-IAb) ectopically expressing a murine major histocompatibility complex class II protein, I-Ab, in OP9-DL1 cells. This new line could accelerate the development of TCR-transduced BM cells into CD4 T cells, resulting in cells with an improved capacity to respond to T-cell stimulation to secrete cytokines. Taken together, we demonstrate a general and potentially useful method to generate autologous antigen-specific CD4 helper T cells in vitro from easily accessible BM cells
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