Epidermal γδ T cells originate from yolk sac hematopoiesis and clonally self-renew in the adult

Rebecca Gentek, Clément Ghigo, Guillaume Hoeffel, Audrey Jorquera, Rasha Msallam, Stephan Wienert, Frederick Klauschen, Florent Ginhoux, Marc Bajénoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The murine epidermis harbors two immune cell lineages, Langerhans cells (LCs) and γδ T cells known as dendritic epidermal T cells (DETCs). LCs develop from both early yolk sac (YS) progenitors and fetal liver monocytes before locally self-renewing in the adult. For DETCs, the mechanisms of homeostatic maintenance and their hematopoietic origin are largely unknown. Here, we exploited multicolor fate mapping systems to reveal that DETCs slowly turn over at steady state. Like for LCs, homeostatic maintenance of DETCs is achieved by clonal expansion of tissue-resident cells assembled in proliferative units. The same mechanism, albeit accelerated, facilitates DETC replenishment upon injury. Hematopoietic lineage tracing uncovered that DETCs are established independently of definitive hematopoietic stem cells and instead originate from YS hematopoiesis, again reminiscent of LCs. DETCs thus resemble LCs concerning their maintenance, replenishment mechanisms, and hematopoietic development, suggesting that the epidermal microenvironment exerts a lineage-independent influence on the initial seeding and homeostatic maintenance of its resident immune cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2994-3005
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number12
Early online date8 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2018


  • Animals
  • Cell Lineage/immunology
  • Embryo, Mammalian/cytology
  • Epidermis/immunology
  • Hematopoiesis, Extramedullary/immunology
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells/cytology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta/genetics
  • T-Lymphocytes/cytology
  • Yolk Sac/cytology


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