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When mouse target cells are subjected to cytolytic attack by mouse CTL cell lines that have been cultured for many months in high levels of IL-2, and have abundant perforin-rich secretory granules, they exhibit two prominent changes: 1) rapid and massive increase (greater than 10-fold) in intracellular Ca2+ concentration and 2) fragmentation of DNA into nucleosome-sized fragments. We show here that when the same target cells are subjected to cytolytic attack by perforin-deficient CTL, either human CTL or primary mouse CTL from peritoneal exudates, the same changes are observed, suggesting that perforin-rich and perforin-deficient CTL kill their target cells by similar (if not identical) mechanisms. It is possible that perforin-deficient CTL produce enough perforin to destroy target cells but not enough to be detected by currently available methods.


Journal article


Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

Publication Date





3243 - 3248


Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge 02139.


T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic, Cell Line, Intracellular Fluid, Animals, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Humans, Mice, DNA Damage, Hemolysis, Calcium, Membrane Glycoproteins, Membrane Proteins, Cytotoxicity Tests, Immunologic, Cytotoxicity, Immunologic, Pore Forming Cytotoxic Proteins, Perforin