Death by a thousand cuts: granzyme pathways of programmed cell death.

Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Department of Radiation Oncology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
Annual Review of Immunology (Impact Factor: 41.39). 02/2008; 26:389-420. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.immunol.26.021607.090404
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The granzymes are cell death-inducing enzymes, stored in the cytotoxic granules of cytotoxic T lymphocytes and natural killer cells, that are released during granule exocytosis when a specific virus-infected or transformed target cell is marked for elimination. Recent work suggests that this homologous family of serine esterases can activate at least three distinct pathways of cell death. This redundancy likely evolved to provide protection against pathogens and tumors with diverse strategies for evading cell death. This review discusses what is known about granzyme-mediated pathways of cell death as well as recent studies that implicate granzymes in immune regulation and extracellular proteolytic functions in inflammation.

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    ABSTRACT: Granzyme B (GzmB) plays a major role in CTLs and NK cell-mediated elimination of virus-infected cells and tumors. Human GzmB preferentially induces target cell apoptosis by cleaving the proapoptotic Bcl-2 family member Bid, which, together with Bax, induces mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization. We previously showed that GzmB also induces a rapid accumulation of the tumor-suppressor protein p53 within target cells, which seems to be involved in GzmB-induced apoptosis. In this article, we show that GzmB-activated p53 accumulates on target cell mitochondria and interacts with Bcl-2. This interaction prevents Bcl-2 inhibitory effect on both Bax and GzmB-truncated Bid, and promotes GzmB-induced mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization. Consequently, blocking p53-Bcl-2 interaction decreases GzmB-induced Bax activation, cytochrome c release from mitochondria, and subsequent effector caspases activation leading to a decreased sensitivity of target cells to both GzmB and CTL/NK-mediated cell death. Together, our results define p53 as a new important player in the GzmB apoptotic signaling pathway and in CTL/NK-induced apoptosis. Copyright © 2014 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.
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    ABSTRACT: Granzymes (Grs) are serine proteases mainly produced by cytotoxic lymphocytes and are traditionally considered to cause apoptosis in tumor cells and virally infected cells. However, the cytotoxicity of several Grs is currently being debated, and additional, predominantly extracellular, functions of Grs in inflammation are emerging. Extracellular soluble Grs are elevated in the circulation of patients with autoimmune diseases and infections. Additionally, Grs are expressed by several types of immune cells other than cytotoxic lymphocytes. Recent research has revealed novel immunomodulatory functions of Grs. In this review, we provide a comprehensive overview on the role of Grs in inflammation, highlighting their role in cytokine induction and processing. Copyright © 2015 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.
    Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). 01/2015; 194(2):491-497.


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