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RefSeq (mRNA)



RefSeq (protein)



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Perforin-1 is a protein that in humans is encoded by the PRF1 gene and the Prf1 gene in mice.[1][2][3]


Perforin is a pore forming cytolytic protein found in the granules of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) and Natural Killer cells (NK cells). Upon degranulation, perforin binds to the target cell's plasma membrane, and oligomerises in a Ca2+ dependent manner to form pores on the target cell. The pore formed allows for the passive diffusion of a family of pro-apoptotic proteases, known as the granzymes, into the target cell.[4] The lytic membrane-inserting part of perforin is the MACPF domain.[5] This region shares homology with cholesterol-dependent cytolysins from Gram-positive bacteria.[6]

Perforin has structural and functional similarities to complement component 9 (C9). Like C9, this protein creates transmembrane tubules and is capable of lysing non-specifically a variety of target cells. This protein is one of the main cytolytic proteins of cytolytic granules, and it is known to be a key effector molecule for T-cell- and natural killer-cell-mediated cytolysis.[3] Perforin is thought to act by creating holes in the plasma membrane which triggers an influx of calcium and initiates membrane repair mechanisms. These repair mechanisms bring perforin and granzymes into early endosomes.[7]

Clinical significance

Homozygous inheritance of defective PRF1 alleles result in the development of familial hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis type 2 (FHL2), a rare and lethal autosomal recessive disorder of infancy.[3]


Perforin has been shown to interact with calreticulin.[8]

See also


  1. Fink TM, Zimmer M, Weitz S, Tschopp J, Jenne DE, Lichter P (Sep 1992). "Human perforin (PRF1) maps to 10q22, a region that is syntenic with mouse chromosome 10". Genomics. 13 (4): 1300–2. doi:10.1016/0888-7543(92)90050-3. PMID 1505959.
  2. Shinkai Y, Yoshida MC, Maeda K, Kobata T, Maruyama K, Yodoi J, Yagita H, Okumura K (Jan 1990). "Molecular cloning and chromosomal assignment of a human perforin (PFP) gene". Immunogenetics. 30 (6): 452–7. doi:10.1007/BF02421177. PMID 2592021.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Entrez Gene: PRF1 perforin 1 (pore forming protein)".
  4. Trapani JA (1996). "Target cell apoptosis induced by cytotoxic T cells and natural killer cells involves synergy between the pore-forming protein, perforin, and the serine protease, granzyme B". Australian and New Zealand journal of medicine. 25 (6): 793–9. doi:10.1111/j.1445-5994.1995.tb02883.x. PMID 8770355.
  5. Tschopp J, Masson D, Stanley KK (1986). "Structural/functional similarity between proteins involved in complement- and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-mediated cytolysis". Nature. 322 (6082): 831–4. doi:10.1038/322831a0. PMID 2427956.
  6. Rosado CJ, Buckle AM, Law RH, Butcher RE, Kan WT, Bird CH, Ung K, Browne KA, Baran K, Bashtannyk-Puhalovich TA, Faux NG, Wong W, Porter CJ, Pike RN, Ellisdon AM, Pearce MC, Bottomley SP, Emsley J, Smith AI, Rossjohn J, Hartland EL, Voskoboinik I, Trapani JA, Bird PI, Dunstone MA, Whisstock JC (2007). "A common fold mediates vertebrate defense and bacterial attack". Science. 317 (5844): 1548–51. doi:10.1126/science.1144706. PMID 17717151.
  7. Thiery J, Keefe D, Boulant S, Boucrot E, Walch M, Martinvalet D, Goping IS, Bleackley RC, Kirchhausen T, Lieberman J (2011). "Perforin pores in the endosomal membrane trigger the release of endocytosed granzyme B into the cytosol of target cells". Nat. Immunol. 12 (8): 770–7. doi:10.1038/ni.2050. PMC 3140544. PMID 21685908.
  8. Andrin C, Pinkoski MJ, Burns K, et al. (July 1998). "Interaction between a Ca2+-binding protein calreticulin and perforin, a component of the cytotoxic T-cell granules". Biochemistry. 37 (29): 10386–94. doi:10.1021/bi980595z. PMID 9671507.

Further reading

External links

Perforin at NLM Genetics Home Reference