To investigate the question of whether lytic granules share a common biogenesis with lysosomes, cloned cytolytic T cell lines were derived from a patient with I-cell disease. The targeting of two soluble lytic granule components, granzymes A and B, was studied in these cells which lack a functional mannose-6-phosphate (Man-6-P) receptor-mediated pathway to lysosomes. Using antibodies and enzymatic substrates to detect the lytic proteins, I-cells were found to constitutively secrete granzymes A and B in contrast to normal cells in which these proteins were stored for regulated secretion. These results suggest that granzymes A and B are normally targeted to the lytic granules of activated lymphocytes by the Man-6-P receptor. In normal cells, the granzymes bear Man-6-P residues, since the oligosaccharide side chains of granzymes A and B, as well as radioactive phosphate on granzyme A from labeled cells, were removed by endoglycosidase H (Endo H). However, in I-cells, granzymes cannot bear Man-6-P and granzyme B acquires complex glycans, becoming Endo H resistant. Although the levels of granzymes A and B in cytolytic I-cell lymphocytes are < 30% of the normal levels, immunolocalization and cell fractionation of granzyme A demonstrated that this reduced amount is correctly localized in the lytic granules. Therefore, a Man-6-P receptor-independent pathway to the lytic granules must also exist. Cathepsin B colocalizes with granzyme A in both normal and I-cells indicating that lysosomal proteins can also use the Man-6-P receptor-independent pathway in these cells. The complete overlap of these lysosomal and lytic markers implies that the lytic granules perform both lysosomal and secretory roles in cytolytic lymphocytes. The secretory role of lytic granules formed by the Man-6-P receptor-independent pathway is intact as assessed by the ability of I-cell lymphocytes to lyse target cells by regulated secretion.

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