Tissue transglutaminase 2 inhibition promotes cell death and chemosensitivity in glioblastomas

Liya Yuan, Kihang Choi, Chaitan Khosla, Xiao Zheng, Ryuji Higashikubo, Michael R. Chicoine, Keith M. Rich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Tissue transglutaminase 2 belongs to a family of transglutaminase proteins that confers mechanical resistance from proteolysis and stabilizes proteins. Transglutaminase 2 promotes transamidation between glutamine and lysine residues with the formation of covalent linkages between proteins. Transglutaminase 2 also interacts and forms complexes with proteins important in extracellular matrix organization and cellular adhesion. We have identified the novel finding that treatment of glioblastoma cells with transglutaminase 2 inhibitors promotes cell death and enhances sensitivity to chemotherapy. Treatment with either the competitive transglutaminase 2 inhibitor, monodansylcadaverine, or with highly specific small-molecule transglutaminase 2 inhibitors, KCA075 or KCC009, results in induction of apoptosis in glioblastoma cells. Treatment with these transglutaminase 2 inhibitors resulted in markedly decreased levels of the prosurvival protein, phosphorylated Akt, and its downstream targets. These changes promote a proapoptotic profile with altered levels of multiple intracellular proteins that determine cell survival. These changes include decreased levels of the antiapoptotic proteins, survivin, phosphorylated Bad, and phosphorylated glycogen synthetase kinase 3β (GSK-3β), and increased levels of the proapoptotic BH3-only protein, Bim. In vivo studies with s.c. murine DBT glioblastoma tumors treated with transglutaminase 2 inhibitors combined with the chemotherapeutic agent, N-N′-bis (2-chloroethyl)-N-nitrosourea (BCNU), decreased tumor size based on weight by 50% compared with those treated with BCNU alone. Groups treated with transglutaminase 2 inhibitors showed an increased incidence of apoptosis determined with deoxynucleotidyl transferase - mediated biotin nick-end labeling staining. These studies identify inhibition of transglutaminase 2 as a potential target to enhance cell death and chemosensitivity in glioblastomas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1293-1302
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Cancer Therapeutics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2005


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