killer T-cells

killer T-cells

cytotoxic T-LYMPHOCYTES which recognize and kill virus-infected cells, transplanted cells from a genetically-dissimilar member of the same species (allogeneic transplant), possibly cancer cells and other abnormal cells. They recognize foreign antigens on the surface of the target cells, release lysosomal enzymes (see LYSOSOME and perforins (which form ion-permeable channels in the cell membrane), and destroy the cells on contact. After killing the target cells, killer T-cells continue to live and can kill repeatedly. Killer T-cells are the effector of cell-mediated IMMUNE RESPONSE.
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