Novel serine proteases encoded by two cytotoxic T lymphocyte-specific genes

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Science  16 May 1986:
Vol. 232, Issue 4752, pp. 858-861
DOI: 10.1126/science.3518058


Genes that are expressed exclusively in cytotoxic T cells should encode proteins that are essential for target cell lysis in cell-mediated immune responses. The sequences of two cytotoxic T lymphocyte-specific complementary DNA's (cDNA's) suggest that the two genes encode serine proteases. A full-length cDNA corresponding to one of the genes was isolated and sequenced. The predicted protein resembles serine proteases in that it includes all the residues that form the catalytic triad of the active site of serine proteases. Moreover, it has sequence characteristics thought to occur only in rat mast cell protease type II. These results are in accord with the view that a protease cascade plays a key role in cytotoxic T-cell activation.