Perforin mRNA in primary peritoneal exudate cytotoxic T lymphocytes

C. Nagler-Anderson, M. Lichtenheld, H. N. Eisen, E. R. Podack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Considerable evidence indicates that cloned CTL cell lines kill target cells by releasing toxic granules that contain a cytolytic protein, called perforin, and several serine esterases (granzymes A to F). However, primary CTL, such as the highly cytolytic peritoneal exudate lymphocyte (PEL) cell population, have been found by a hemolytic assay to have no perforin, or perhaps only borderline levels of that protein, suggesting that these cells use a different lytic mechanism. To determine whether or not primary CTL express the perforin gene, we have here compared mRNA from PEL CTL and from a cloned CTL cell line, 2C, by Northern blot analysis using a perforin cDNA probe. CD8+ PEL CTL contain approximately 30% of the amount of perforin message present in 2C. Moreover, depletion of CD8+ T cells from the total peritoneal exudate cell population removes both cytolytic activity and perforin message. We have previously shown that PEL CTL elicit the same changes in target cells as cloned CTL cell lines and are resistant to lysis by the toxic granules purified from these cell lines. Taken together these results are consistent with the view that primary CTL, as well as long term cloned CTL cell lines, exercise their cytolytic activity by means of perforin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3440-3443
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Dec 21 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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