Granzymes (granule-secreted enzymes) are serine proteases that are released by cytoplasmic granules within cytotoxic T cells and natural killer (NK) cells. They trigger programmed cell death in the target cell.
Granzyme B activates caspase (especially caspase-3) and also cleaves the factors like ICAD. It also cleaves many of the proteins lick Bid, which recruits the proteins Bax and Bak to change the membrane permeability of the mitochondria, causing the release of cytochrome c responsible for apoptosis in the absence of caspase activity. Granzyme B inhibitors inhibit the apoptosis-related DNA fragmentation in lymphocytes.
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