Protein crosslinking, tissue transglutaminase, alternative splicing and neurodegeneration
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Increasing interest and awareness of protein aggregation as being implicated in neurodegenerative processes has developed in recent years. One novel mechanism for this may be transglutaminase (TGase)-mediated protein crosslinking, that is involved in a variety of natural processes ranging from the stabilization of fibrin clots to production of the epidermal cell envelope and the fluid barrier of the skin. TGases are also implicated in both function and dysfunction of the central (CNS) and peripheral (PNS) nervous systems. The most ubiquitously expressed member of the TGase family, known as tissue TGase (tTG) or TG2, which, in addition to catalyzing the production of epsilon-lysine to gamma-glutaminyl isodipeptide bonds, serves a dual function as the G-protein Galpha(h) and is both expressed and active in PNS and CNS. It differs from other members of the TGase gene family in this regard and may implicate it in 'switches' from life or trophic signaling to those associated with apoptosis. In this regard, recent data indicate that one or more TGases are involved in neurodegenerative disorders such as the Qn/CAG repeat disorders, as well as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. As do many genes, particularly those highly expressed in the CNS, tTG undergoes alternative processing. Elevated expression and alternative splicing, resulting in a short (S) isoform of tTG with more active crosslinking activity, are associated with increased neuronal loss in affected regions in the demented brain. Our recent and novel data indicate that tTG mRNA, protein, and TGase activity are elevated in certain neurodegenerative diseases, and are accompanied by transcription of this S splice variant that results in unregulated crosslinking, unique to neurodegenerative disorders.
author list (cited authors)
Citron, B. A., Suo, Z., SantaCruz, K., Davies, P., Qin, F., & Festoff, B. W.