Decloaking perforin, the protein assassin

When the immune system identifies a cell that needs to be eliminated, such as a virus-infected cell or cancer cell, natural killer cells descend and puncture the offending cell, injecting toxic enzymes to spell its doom.

At the centre of this immune response is a crucial protein called perforin, which is responsible for forming a pore in the diseased cell.

This notion has been understood for over a century, but now researchers from Melbourne and London have identified the mechanism by which this process unfolds.

Perforin punching pores through a cell membrane, allowing granzyme toxins to move into and destroy the cell. (Image credit: Mike Kuiper, VPAC)

Perforin punching pores through a cell membrane, allowing granzyme toxins to move into and destroy the cell. (Image credit: Mike Kuiper, VPAC)


via Decloaking perforin, the protein assassin – x-ray crystallography, Proteins, perforin, immunology, electron micropscopy, Australian Synchrotron – Australian Life Scientist.

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