A diverse array of signals are generated in a cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) after the T cell receptor (TCR) engages the class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC) peptide complex. These signals result in a multitude of CTL effector functions, including cellular cytotoxicity, cell surface receptor expression, and cytokine secretion. We have examined signaling through the TCR in a wild type CD8+, MHC-restricted, antigen-specific CTL clone, 14-7, and its interleukin 2-dependent variant clone 14-7FD. We report here that 14-7FD is unable to kill via the perforin mechanism of killing, yet is able to kill via the Fas ligand/Fas mechanism and secrete interferon-gamma in an antigen-specific manner. 14-7FD has cytolytic granules that contain perforin and serine esterases, which are secreted after phorbol ester and Ca2+ ionophore treatment. Lastly, to investigate which TCR signaling requirements were operational in 14-7FD, we examined TCR-triggered intracellular Ca2+ mobilization in the two clones. After TCR engagement, 14-7FD failed to mobilize intracellular Ca2+, which may be the cause for its inability to trigger the perforin/granule exocytosis mechanism of killing. These results indicate that the signal transduction events that trigger perforin killing and the signaling requirements to induce FasL expression are distinct. We hypothesize that these two distinct TCR signal transduction requirements allow for separate activation of these two mechanisms of killing relating to their role in eradication of infected cells or regulation of immune responses.

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