Reports from a number of laboratories have shown that mAbs against the T3-Ti receptor complex cause an increase in cytosolic-free Ca2+ [( Ca2+]i) and the hydrolysis of phosphatidylinositolbisphosphate (PIP2) in CTLs. In the present report we show that activation of CTLs by their specific targets causes: (a) release of Ca2+ from intracellular stores; (b) transient formation of inositol trisphosphate (InsP3); and (c) an increased permeability to Ca2+ of CTL plasma membrane. Killing of unrelated targets could be induced by cocentrifugation of the unrelated targets with CTLs in the presence of A23187 or PMA. We conclude that: (a) activation of CTLs by specific antigens triggers the generation of the same intracellular mediators generated by stimulation of lymphocytes with anti-T3-Ti receptor antibodies and/or with polyclonal mitogens; and (b) intracellular signals that mediate the delivery of the lethal hit by CTLs are indistinguishable from those that induce cell proliferation.

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