CTL and NK cells resist self-mediated killing and lysis by their own pore-forming protein (PFP; perforin). Perforin, like C, lyses RBC. Efficient C-mediated lysis of RBC occurs when both C and RBC are from different species (homologous species restriction). A protective surface protein (C8-binding protein, homologous restriction factor) has been reported to mediate both homologous species restriction in C-dependent cytolysis and protection of some target cells against perforin-induced lysis. We show here that perforin, unlike C, lyses target cells across a variety of species, including the homologous one, while the same target cell populations resist the attack by homologous C. Perforin-containing extracts of CTL and LAK/NK cells from three species (rat, mouse, and human) and purified mouse perforin were tested against RBC from 10 different species, several nucleated target cell lines, and one primary cell population (thymocytes). While resisting lysis by homologous C, most of these cell types were lysed effectively by perforin without any homologous restriction pattern. CTL and NK cells, like other nucleated targets, are resistant to lysis by homologous but not heterologous C; however, these cell types are resistant to both homologous and heterologous perforin. Together, our results suggest that the protective mechanisms associated with C- and perforin-mediated lysis are distinct.

This content is only available as a PDF.