Killing mechanisms of cytotoxic lymphocytes

Curr Opin Hematol. 1997 Jan;4(1):32-40. doi: 10.1097/00062752-199704010-00006.


Killer lymphocytes are primary immune effectors of virus, certain bacteria, and tumor immunity and play a role in autoimmunity and transplant rejection. This article reviews progress in deciphering the mechanisms by which they kill target cells through induction of apoptosis by either the secretory, perforin/granzyme-based pathway or the nonsecretory pathway, (i.e., by triggering the cell-surface death receptor Fas (CD95) by the membrane-bound Fas ligand of the killer).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / immunology*
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic*
  • Humans
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic*
  • fas Receptor / immunology*


  • fas Receptor