Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

A method for detecting intracellular perforin in mouse lymphocytes.

PMID 25348626


Cytotoxic lymphocytes destroy pathogen-infected and transformed cells through the cytotoxic granule exocytosis death pathway, which is dependent on the delivery of proapoptotic granzymes into the target cell cytosol by the pore-forming protein, perforin. Despite the importance of mouse models in understanding the role of cytotoxic lymphocytes in immune-mediated disease and their role in cancer immune surveillance, no reliable intracellular detection method exists for mouse perforin. Consequently, rapid, flow-based assessment of cytotoxic potential has been problematic, and complex assays of function are generally required. In this study, we have developed a novel method for detecting perforin in primary mouse cytotoxic T lymphocytes by immunofluorescence and flow cytometry. We used this new technique to validate perforin colocalization with granzyme B in cytotoxic granules polarized to the immunological synapse, and to assess the expression of perforin in cytotoxic T lymphocytes at various stages of activation. The sensitivity of this technique also allowed us to distinguish perforin levels in Prf1(+/+) and Prf1(+/-) mice. This new methodology will have broad applications and contribute to advances within the fields of lymphocyte biology, infectious disease, and cancer.