Analysis of Sequential Substages of the Natural Killer Cell Lethal Hit

  • Richard L. Deem
  • Stephan R. Targan
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 187)


Previous studies have shown that NK cytotoxicity can be resolved into several stages: NK-target cell binding, triggering, programming, and killer cell independent lysis (KCIL)(1, 2). NK cells produce soluble cytolytic factors (NKCF), which can lyse NK-sensitive targets and have been used as another measure of the NK lethal hit (3, 4). Since KCIL and NKCF-mediated cytolysis are independent of the NK cell, and are inhibited by PGE, (5), low temperatue (1), and trypsin (6), it was postulated that the target cell membrane probably played a crucial role during the NK lethal hit. Several hypotheses were proposed to explain these results. [1] Membrane fluidity/movement may play a role in channel formation by the NK lytic complex. [2] Membrane movement or endocytosis, requiring intact metabolic and energy transfer pathways, may be required for completion of the lethal hit. [3] Enzymatic activity, either from target cell enzymes or a function of the NK lytic complex itself, may be a necessary substage of the NK lethal hit. These hypotheses were tested in this study with specific membrane crosslinking/fluidizing agents, inhibitors of energy metabolism, and inhibitors of protease activity.


Natural Killer Benzyl Alcohol Crosslinking Reagent Serine Protease Activity Target Cell Membrane 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard L. Deem
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Stephan R. Targan
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Geriatric Research Education and Clinical CenterWadsworth Veterans Administration Medical CenterLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of Medicine University of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Department of MicrobiologyUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.Department of ImmunologyUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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