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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1981 Mar;78(3):1356-60.

Lens transglutaminase and cataract formation.


A protein polymer characteristically present in human cataract was shown to contain significant amounts of gamma-glutamyl-epsilon-lysine isopeptides. It is proposed that these crosslinks are produced by the action of transglutaminase (R-glutaminyl-peptide:amine-gamma-glutamyl-yltransferase, EC, which is all the more plausible because lens contains the enzyme and endogenous protein substrates for it. The enzyme is similar to that obtained from liver and is Ca2+ dependent. Highest apparent activity is found in lens cortex. When cortex homogenate from the rabbit was incubated in the presence of Ca2+ with either [14C]putrescine or with dansylcadaverine, a a selective incorporation of the radioactive or fluorescent amine into the heavier subunits (Mr approximately 26,000 and 30,000) of beta-crystallins could be demonstrated. Possible modes of regulating the crosslinking activity of this enzyme in lens are discussed.

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