In mixtures of two CTL of the type a anti-b and b anti-c, only the latter is lysed; i.e., killing is unidirectional. Here, we show that two profound types of changes occur in the effector CTL but not in the target CTL upon formation of couples between them. One is that the microtubule organizing center (and presumably the Golgi apparatus that is invariably colocalized with it) is reoriented inside the effector CTL to face the bound target CTL. This unidirectional reorientation, it is proposed, serves to direct putative cytotoxic secretory components derived from the Golgi apparatus of the effector cell to the site of cell-cell binding. The second unidirectional change is in the membrane-associated cytoskeleton of the effector CTL in the area of target cell binding. The cytoskeletal protein talin, but not any of four other such proteins assayed, is highly concentrated at the contacting membrane of the effector CTL, while it is uniformly distributed over the entire membrane of the bound target CTL. This localized, massive cytoskeletal reorganization may reflect a mechanism to protect the membrane of the effector CTL from the effects of putative cytotoxic components secreted by the effector cell into the intercellular space between it and the target cell.

This content is only available as a PDF.