Appearance of granule-associated molecules during activation of cytolytic T-lymphocyte precursors by defined stimuli

Immunology. 1988 May;64(1):129-34.


Lysis of target cells by cytolytic T lymphocytes (CTL) is associated with the exocytosis of cytoplasmic granules. Purified granules from CTL cell lines contain a pore-forming protein (perforin), tree serine esterases, granzyme A (60,000 MW), granzyme B (29,000 MW), and granzyme C (27,000 MW). We have compared the kinetics of appearance of cytolytic activity with that of perforin and granzyme A activity during activation of lymphocytes from normal animals with leukoagglutinin (LA) and recombinant interleukin-2 (rIL-2). Unstimulated lymph node cells do not express any of these activities, which appear between Day 3 and Day 4 of stimulation and increase rapidly to reach a pronounced peak on Day 6. On Day 7 all the activities are considerably lower, even though the cells still proliferate exponentially. There is a good correlation between the kinetics of appearance of all of these activities. Using antisera against perforin and against granzyme C, one can detect positive cytoplasmic granules in a small fraction of cells on Day 3; by Day 5, 80-90% of the cells are stained. This proportion decreases again on Day 7.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / metabolism
  • Exocytosis
  • Female
  • Granzymes
  • Hemolysis
  • Lymphocyte Activation*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins*
  • Membrane Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Perforin
  • Pore Forming Cytotoxic Proteins
  • Serine Endopeptidases / biosynthesis
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Pore Forming Cytotoxic Proteins
  • Perforin
  • Granzymes
  • Gzmc protein, mouse
  • Serine Endopeptidases