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Exp Cell Res. 1994 Sep;214(1):358-66.

Estradiol-regulated transamidation of keratins by vaginal epithelial cell transglutaminase.

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Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, India.


We have observed a marked increase in the activity of transglutaminase (EC in rat vaginal epithelial cells in a time-dependent manner during estradiol-induced terminal differentiation. The increased transglutaminase activity facilitates a post-translational modification, transamidation of keratins by the formation of an isopeptide sigma (tau-glutamyl) lysine. This isopeptide was recovered from the urea-soluble and -insoluble fractions of keratins. The formation of sigma (tau-glutamyl) lysine was significantly reduced in rats primed with progesterone or tamoxifen-estradiol. These in vivo experiments were further confirmed by in vitro studies using the reconstituted keratin filaments, which demonstrated a remarkable acceleration in the formation of covalent cross-links mediated by vaginal epithelial cell transglutaminase obtained from rats primed with estradiol. By specifically modifying the lysine residues of the keratins with 2,4-pentanedione the aggregation of keratin filaments was inhibited. These findings reflect that the vaginal epithelial cell transglutaminase obtained from rats which is regulated by estradiol plays a key role in the process of terminal differentiation of rat vaginal epithelial cells.

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