Granulysin A novel antimicrobial peptide of cytolytic T lymphocytes and natural killer cells

Alan M. Krensky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Granulysin is a novel antimicrobial protein produced by human cytolytic T lymphocytes and natural killer cells. It is active against a broad range of microbes, including Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, fungi, and parasites. The fact that it kills Mycobacterium tuberculosis is particularly important, since the current vaccine (Bacille Calmette-Guerin, BCG) is of limited efficacy and antibiotic resistance is increasing. Although functionally related to other antibacterial peptides, defensins and magainins, granulysin is structurally distinct. Like porcine NK lysin and amoebapores made by Entamoeba histolytica, granulysin is related to saposins, small lipid-associated proteins present in the central nervous system. The identification of this novel molecule indicates a broader and perhaps more significant role for T lymphocytes in both innate and acquired antimicrobial defenses. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-320
Number of pages4
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2000


  • Antibiotic
  • Cytolytic T lymphocyte
  • Granulysin
  • Natural killer cell
  • Peptides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology

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