Cytotoxic lymphocytes express a large family of granule serine proteases, including one member, granzyme (Grz)M, with a unique protease activity, restricted expression, and distinct gene locus. Although a number of Grzs, including GrzM, have been shown to mediate target cell apoptosis in the presence of perforin, the biological activity of Grz has been restricted to control of a number of viral pathogens, including two natural mouse pathogens, ectromelia, and murine CMV (MCMV). In this article, we describe the first reported gene targeting of GrzM in mice. GrzM-deficient mice display normal NK cell/T cell development and homeostasis and intact NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity of tumor targets as measured by membrane damage and DNA fragmentation. GrzMdeficient mice demonstrated increased susceptibility to MCMV infection typified by the presence of more viral inclusions and transiently higher viral burden in the visceral organs of GrzM-deficient mice compared with wild-type (WT) mice. The cytotoxicity of NK cells from MCMV-infected GrzM-deficient mice remained unchanged and, like WT control mice, GrzM-deficient mice eventually effectively cleared MCMV infection from the visceral organs. In contrast, GrzM-deficient mice were as resistant as WT control mice to mouse pox ectromelia infection, as well as challenge with a number of NK cell-sensitive tumors. These data confirm a role for GrzM in the host response to MCMV infection, but suggest that GrzM is not critical for NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity.
Pao, L. I., Sumaria, N., Kelly, J. M., Van Dommelen, S., Cretney, E., Wallace, M. E., ... Smyth, M. (2005). Functional Analysis of Granzyme M and Its Role in Immunity to Infection. Journal of Immunology, 175(5), 3235-3243. https://doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.175.5.3235