B-Raf is required for positive selection and survival of DP cells, but not for negative selection of SP cells

Tara J. Dillon, Maho Takahashi, Yanping Li, Srilatha Tavisala, Susan E. Murray, Amy E. Moran, David C. Parker, Philip J.S. Stork

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


The duration of signaling through the MAP kinase (or ERK pathway) cascade has been implicated in thymic development, particularly positive and negative selection. In T cells, two isoforms of the MAP kinase kinase kinase Raf function to transmit signals from the T-cell receptor to ERK: C-Raf and B-Raf. In this study, we conditionally ablated B-Raf expression within thymocytes to assess the effects on ERK activation and thymocyte development. The complete loss of B-Raf is accompanied by a dramatic loss of ERK activation in both the double positive (DP) and single positive (SP) thymocytes, as well as peripheral splenocytes. There was a significant decrease in the cellularity of KO thymi, largely due to a loss of pre-selected DP cells, a decrease in DP cells undergoing positive selection, and a defect in SP maturation. B-Raf plays significant roles in survival of DP thymocytes and function of SP cells in the periphery. Surprisingly, we saw no effect of B-Raf deficiency on negative selection of autoreactive SP thymocytes, despite the greatly reduced ERK activation in these cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-269
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2013



  • B-Raf
  • ERK
  • MAPK
  • Positive selection
  • Thymic development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

Cite this