Mechanisms of T cell-mediated cytotoxicity remain poorly defined at the molecular level. To investigate some of these mechanisms, we used as target cells, on the one hand, thymocytes from lpr and gld mouse mutants, and on the other hand, L1210 cells transfected or not with the apoptosis-inducing Fas molecule. These independent mutant or transfectant-based approaches both led to the conclusion that Fas was involved in the Ca(2+)-independent component of cytotoxicity mediated by at least two sources of T cells, namely nonantigen-specific in vitro activated hybridoma cells, and antigen-specific in vivo raised peritoneal exudate lymphocytes. Thus, in these cases, T cell-mediated cytotoxicity involved transduction via Fas of the target cell death signal.

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