CTL, NK cells, and lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cells are cytolytic lymphocytes known to produce a pore-forming protein, named perforin or cytolysin, that lyses target cells by forming large pores on the plasma membrane of the target cell. Other proteins besides perforin are found in the cytoplasmic granules of effector lymphocytes, and these include a family of serine esterases. Ultrastructural immunogold labeling studies with antibodies against perforin and a serine esterase (MTSP-1, also known as granzyme A and SE-1) show that all the granules of LAK cells and a CTL cell line contain perforin and serine esterase. For both LAK cells and CTL, perforin has been located mostly in the fine granular matrix of the granules, whereas gold particles corresponding to serine esterase have been found in both the matrix and the cap regions of the granules. Results from double immunogold labeling indicate that perforin and serine esterase colocalize to the same granules.

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