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Chem Biol. 2005 May;12(5):567-77.

Selective chemical functional probes of granzymes A and B reveal granzyme B is a major effector of natural killer cell-mediated lysis of target cells.

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Chemistry and Chemical Biology Graduate Program, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.


The mechanism of target cell lysis in cytotoxic lymphocyte-mediated death is not well understood, and the role of granzymes in this process is unclear. Chemical functional probes were thus prepared for the major granzymes A and B to deconvolute their role in natural killer cell-mediated lysis of target cells. These biotinylated and substrate specificity-based diphenyl phosphonates allowed facile evaluation of selectivity through activity-based profiling in cell lysates and intact cells. Both inhibitors were found to be extremely selective in vitro and in cells. Use of these inhibitors in cell-based assays revealed granzyme A to be a minor effector and granzyme B to be a major effector of target cell lysis by natural killer cells. These studies indicate that the proapoptotic granzyme B functions also as a pronecrotic effector of target cell death.

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