Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Neurochem Int. 2002 Jan;40(1):37-52.

Does tissue transglutaminase play a role in Huntington's disease?

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology, 1720 7th Avenue, South, SC1061, School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 35294-0017, USA.


Tissue transglutaminase (tTG) likely plays a role in numerous processes in the nervous system. tTG posttranslationally modifies proteins by transamidation of specific polypeptide bound glutamines (Glns). This reaction results in the incorporation of polyamines into substrate proteins or the formation of protein crosslinks, modifications that likely have significant effects on neural function. Huntington's disease is a genetic disorder caused by an expansion of the polyglutamine domain in the huntingtin protein. Because a polypeptide bound Gln is the determining factor for a tTG substrate, and mutant huntingtin aggregates have been found in Huntington's disease brain, it has been hypothesized that tTG may contribute to the pathogenesis of Huntington's disease. In vitro, polyglutamine constructs and huntingtin are substrates of tTG. Further, the levels of tTG and TG activity are elevated in Huntington's disease brain and immunohistochemical studies have demonstrated that there is an increase in tTG reactivity in affected neurons in Huntington's disease. These findings suggest that tTG may play a role in Huntington's disease. However in situ, neither wild type nor mutant huntingtin is modified by tTG. Further, immunocytochemical analysis revealed that tTG is totally excluded from the huntingtin aggregates, and modulation of the expression level of tTG had no effect on the frequency of the aggregates in the cells. Therefore, tTG is not required for the formation of huntingtin aggregates, and likely does not play a role in this process in Huntington's disease brain. However, tTG interacts with truncated huntingtin, and selectively polyaminates proteins that are associated with mutant truncated huntingtin. Given the fact that the levels of polyamines in cells is in the millimolar range and the crosslinking and polyaminating reactions catalyzed by tTG are competing reactions, intracellularly polyamination is likely to be the predominant reaction. Polyamination of proteins is likely to effect their function, and therefore it can be hypothesized that tTG may play a role in the pathogenesis of Huntington's disease by modifying specific proteins and altering their function and/or localization. Further research is required to define the specific role of tTG in Huntington's disease.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk