Granzymes A and B directly cleave lamins and disrupt the nuclear lamina during granule-mediated cytolysis

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 May 8;98(10):5746-51. doi: 10.1073/pnas.101329598. Epub 2001 May 1.


Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) induce apoptosis by engaging death receptors or by exocytosis of cytolytic granules containing granzyme (Gzm) proteases and perforin. The lamins, which maintain the structural integrity of the nuclear envelope, are cleaved by caspases during caspase-mediated apoptosis. Although death receptor engagement and GzmB activate caspases, CTL also induce apoptosis during caspase blockade. Both GzmA and GzmB directly and efficiently cleave laminB in vitro, in situ in isolated nuclei and in cells loaded with perforin and Gzms, even in the presence of caspase inhibitors. LaminB is cleaved by GzmA at concentrations of 3 nM, but GzmB is 50 times less active. GzmA cuts laminB at R392; GzmB cuts at the caspase VEVD231 site. Characteristic laminB fragments generated by Gzm proteolysis also are observed during CTL lysis, even in the presence of caspase inhibitors or in cells overexpressing bcl-2. Lamins A/C are direct substrates of GzmA, but not GzmB. GzmA and GzmB therefore directly target critical caspase substrates in caspase-resistant cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / metabolism
  • Granzymes
  • Hydrolysis
  • Lamins
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Serine Endopeptidases / metabolism*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology


  • Lamins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Granzymes
  • Serine Endopeptidases