Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Nov 22;91(24):11571-5.

A null mutation in the perforin gene impairs cytolytic T lymphocyte- and natural killer cell-mediated cytotoxicity.

Author information

  • 1Institute of Biochemistry, University of Lausanne, Switzerland.


Lymphocyte-mediated cytotoxicity has been proposed to consist of the polarized secretion of granule-stored perforin leading to target-cell lysis. Nevertheless, perforin-independent pathways were postulated to explain the cytolytic activity of apparently perforin-free lymphocytes and the DNA degradation found in dying target cells. To evaluate the role of perforin, we used gene targeting in embryonic stem cells to produce mice lacking perforin. Mice homozygous for the disrupted gene have no perforin mRNA. The mice are healthy. Activation and granzyme A secretion of perforin-free cytolytic T cells are unaltered. The killing activity of cytolytic T cells as well as natural killer (NK) cells, however, is impaired but not abolished. Approximately one-third of the killing activity remains when lysis of 3T3 fibroblast targets and the apoptotic cell death of YAC-1 NK targets are analyzed. We conclude that perforin is a crucial effector molecule in T cell- and NK cell-mediated cytolysis. However, alternative perforin-independent lytic mechanisms also exist.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk