The Cytotoxic T Lymphocyte
Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) recognize surface markers on othercells in the body that label those cells for destruction. In this way, CTLs help to keep virus-infected or malignant cells in check. Here, a smaller CTL (arrow) is attacking and killing a much larger influenza virus-infected target. The sequence represents 30 minutes elapsed time. The changing morphology of the target cell is typical of that seen in the process of apoptosis. It was recorded with Mark T. Esser and Vivian Lam Braciale while they were at the University of Virginia. Dr. Braciale is currently at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston (http://microbiology.utmb.edu). You may view this interaction in a 640K movie.
A longer, larger, silent version of the above clip may be purchased and downloaded for classroom use as part of the "Immune System Collection".
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