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Curr Opin Immunol. 2003 Oct;15(5):533-43.

Granzyme B: pro-apoptotic, antiviral and antitumor functions.

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Cancer Immunology Program, Research Division, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Locked Bag 1, A'Beckett Street, Melbourne 8006, Australia.


Granzyme B is a caspase-like serine protease that is released by cytotoxic lymphocytes to kill virus-infected and tumor cells. Major recent advances in our understanding of granzyme B biochemistry, biology and function include an appreciation of its uptake into and trafficking within target cells, a thorough dissection of how cell death is triggered, and the identification of the serpin protease inhibitor PI-9, which regulates its function in lymphocytes and in other cells. The roles that granzyme B plays in human pathologies, such as transplant rejection, viral immunity and particularly tumor immune surveillance, remain a topic for vigorous debate and conjecture. The recent discovery of a triply mutated human granzyme B allele, whose product is predicted to possess a reduced capacity to induce cell death, opens the way for major progress in these areas in coming years.

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