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NK cells kill mycobacteria directly by releasing perforin and granulysin
Journal of Leukocyte Biology
  • Chia-Chen Lu, Fu Jen Catholic University
  • Ting-Shu Wu, Chung Gung Memorial Hospital
  • Ya-Jing Hsu, Ming Chi University of Technology
  • Chih-Jung Chang, Chang Gung University
  • Chuan-Sheng Lin, Ming Chi University of Technology
  • Ju-Hsin Chia, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital
  • Tsu-Lan Wu, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital
  • Tsung-Teng Huang, Ming Chi University of Technology
  • Jan Martel, Chang Gung University
  • David M. Ojcius, Chang Gung University
  • John Ding-E. Young, Chang Gung University
  • Hsin-Chih Lai, Ming Chi University of Technology
David M. Ojcius: 0000-0003-1461-4495
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Although the mechanisms underlying the cytotoxic effect of NK cells on tumor cells and intracellular bacteria have been studied extensively, it remains unclear how these cells kill extracellular bacterial pathogens. In this study, we examine how human NK cells kill Mycobacterium kansasii and M.tb. The underlying mechanism is contact dependent and requires two cytolytic proteins: perforin and granulysin. Mycobacteria induce enhanced expression of the cytolytic proteins via activation of the NKG2D/NCR cell-surface receptors and intracellular signaling pathways involving ERK, JNK, and p38 MAPKs. These results suggest that NK cells use similar cellular mechanisms to kill both bacterial pathogens and target host cells. This report reveals a novel role for NK cells, perforin, and granulysin in killing mycobacteria and highlights a potential alternative defense mechanism that the immune system can use against mycobacterial infection.
Citation Information
Chia-Chen Lu, Ting-Shu Wu, Ya-Jing Hsu, Chih-Jung Chang, et al.. "NK cells kill mycobacteria directly by releasing perforin and granulysin" Journal of Leukocyte Biology Vol. 96 Iss. 6 (2014) p. 1119 - 1129 ISSN: 0741-5400
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