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Regulation of FasL expression and trafficking in cytotoxic T lymphocytes Open Access


Other title
T cells
Fas ligand
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
He, Jinshu
Supervisor and department
Ostergaard, Hanne (Medical Microbiology and Immunology)
Examining committee member and department
Watts, Tania (Immunology, University of Toronto)
Barry, Michele (Medical Microbiology and Immunology)
Bleackley, R. Chris (Biochemistry)
Lacy, Paige (Medicine)
Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) are differentiated CD8+ T cells that eliminate virally infected cells and tumor cells. CTL lyse target cells by at least two distinct mechanisms: degranulation of cytolytic molecules and cell surface expression of Fas ligand (FasL), which induces apoptosis of Fas-expressing target cells. In addition to their defense function, these two cytolytic mechanisms also play crucial roles in homeostatic regulation and contribute to pathogenesis in many different model systems. To fully exploit killer cells in tumor and virus elimination, or dampen the immune response in, for example, autoimmune diseases, it is essential to understand the mechanisms that CTL employ to destroy target cells. In contrast to the well-characterized degranulation mechanism, the regulation of FasL expression on the CTL cell surface remains elusive and even controversial. The prevailing model at the time I initiated my studies was that FasL is stored in cytolytic granules and that FasL cell surface expression would be subject to the same controls as degranulation. In this thesis, I revealed for the first time that there are two waves of FasL cell surface expression upon target cell engagement, which are differentially regulated by TCR signaling and perform distinct roles in CTL mediated responses. I demonstrated that CTL degranulation and FasL lytic mechanisms are fully independent with respect to stored component localization and regulation. Finally, based on cell fractionation and imaging studies, I suggested that FasL is stored in a recycling endosome associated compartment, which is located in a special niche between the ER and mitochondria and uses a novel microtubule-independent secretory mechanism to translocate to the cell surface. Together, these findings provide important insight into the regulation and role of FasL in CTL mediated responses.
License granted by Jinshu He ( on 2009-08-28T01:55:53Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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