The csk gene encodes a nonreceptor protein tyrosine kinase that acts in part by regulating the activity of src-family protein tyrosine kinases. Since the src-family kinases p56lck and p59fyn play pivotal roles during lymphocyte development, it seemed plausible that p50csk might contribute to these regulatory circuits. Using a gene targeting approach, mouse embryonic stem cell lines lacking functional csk genes were generated. These csknull embryonic stem cells proved capable of contributing to many adult tissues, notably heart and brain. However, although csknull progenitors colonized the developing thymus, T and B cell differentiation were both blocked at very early stages. This represented a relatively selective interdiction of lymphocyte maturation, since csknull hematopoietic progenitors supported the development of normal-appearing MAC-1+ blood leukocytes, and the successful maturation of granulocyte/macrophage-colony-forming units from fetal liver progenitors. We conclude that p50csk regulates normal lymphocyte differentiation, but that it almost certainly does so by acting on targets other than p56lck and p59fyn.

This content is only available as a PDF.