Two molecular mechanisms of T cell-mediated cytotoxicity, one perforin-based, the other Fas-based, have been demonstrated. To determine the extent of their contribution to T cell-mediated cytotoxicity, a range of effector cells from normal control or perforin-deficient mice were tested against a panel of target cells with various levels of Fas expression. All cytotoxicity observed was due to either of these mechanisms, and no third mechanism was detected. Thus, the perforin- and Fas-based mechanisms may account for all T cell-mediated cytotoxicity in short-term in vitro assays.

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