Granulysin is a substance released by cytotoxic T cells (CD8) when they are attached to infected body cells. It functions to create holes in the target cell membrane and destroy it. Granulysin is able to induce apoptosis in target cells and also has antimicrobial action . Granulysin is a cytolytic and proinflammatory molecule first identified by subtractive hybridization during a search for genes expressed by human cytotoxic T lymphocytes 3–5 days after their activation. It is expressed in cytolytic granules with perforin, a pore forming protein, and granzymes that are also involved in cytolysis. Granulysin is broadly antimicrobial, killing microbes that cause, for example, tuberculosis and malaria, and can destroy some tumors. A series of peptides generated from the amino acid sequence of granulysin are potential antibiotics.
Granulysin has recently been implicated in the development of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.
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