The orphan granzymes of humans and mice

Curr Opin Immunol. 2003 Oct;15(5):544-52. doi: 10.1016/s0952-7915(03)00099-2.


The granzyme/perforin pathway is a central pathway for lymphocyte-mediated killing in both the innate and adaptive immune systems. This pathway is important in a variety of host defenses, including viral clearance and tumor cell killing, and its dysregulation results in several human and rodent diseases. To date, the majority of reports in this field have concentrated on the functions of granzymes A and B. Recent reports, however, suggest that the non-A/non-B 'orphan' granzymes found in both humans and mice are potentially significant. Although the functions of these orphan granzymes have yet to be fully established, initial data suggests their importance in both immune and nonimmune cells.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Death
  • Down-Regulation
  • Granzymes
  • Humans
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Multigene Family
  • Perforin
  • Phylogeny
  • Pore Forming Cytotoxic Proteins
  • Serine Endopeptidases / genetics*
  • Serine Endopeptidases / physiology


  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Pore Forming Cytotoxic Proteins
  • Perforin
  • GZMB protein, human
  • Granzymes
  • Gzmb protein, mouse
  • Serine Endopeptidases
  • GZMA protein, human