Validity of mouse models for the study of tissue transglutaminase in neurodegenerative diseases.
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Tissue transglutaminase (tTG) is a multifunctional enzyme that catalyzes peptide cross-linking and polyamination reactions, and also is a signal-transducing GTPase. tTG protein content and enzymatic activity are upregulated in the brain in Huntington's disease and in other neurological diseases and conditions. Since mouse models are currently being used to study the role of tTG in Huntington's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases, it is critical that the level of its expression in the mouse forebrain be determined. In contrast to human forebrain where tTG is abundant, tTG can only be detected in mouse forebrain by immunoblotting a GTP-binding-enriched protein fraction. tTG mRNA content and transamidating activity are approximately 70% lower in mouse than in human forebrain. However, tTG contributes to the majority of transglutaminase activity within mouse forebrain. Thus, although tTG is expressed at lower levels in mouse compared with human forebrain, it likely plays important roles in neuronal function.