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Clin Immunol. 2019 Feb;199:37-43. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2018.12.008. Epub 2018 Dec 10.

Microbial transglutaminase: A new potential player in celiac disease.

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B. Rappaport School of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel; AESKU.KIPP Institute, Wendelsheim, Germany. Electronic address:
AESKU.KIPP Institute, Wendelsheim, Germany. Electronic address:


Microbial transglutaminase is heavily used in the food processing industries to improve food qualities. Being a protein's glue, by cross-linking it creates neoepitope complexes that are immunogenic and potentially pathogenic in celiac disease. Despite low sequence identity, it imitates functionally its family member, the endogenous tissue transglutaminase, which is the autoantigen of celiac disease. The present comprehensive review highlights the enzyme characteristics, endogenous and exogenous intestinal sources, its cross-talks with gluten and gliadin, its immunogenicity and potential pathogenicity and risks for the gluten induced conditions. If substantiated, it might represent a new environmental inducer of celiac disease. The present findings might affect nutritional product labeling, processed food additive policies and consumer health education.


Celiac disease; Enzyme; Food additive; Gluten; Microbial; Microbial transglutaminase

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