Manuela Basso, Ph.D., Sunghee Cho, Ph.D.; Rajiv R. Ratan, M.D., Ph.D.; and Diana E. Willis, Ph.D., were published in The Journal of Neuroscience for the paper titled, "Transglutaminase Inhibition Protects against Oxidative Stress-Induced Neuronal Death Downstream of Pathological ERK Activation."
Abstract: Molecular deletion of transglutaminase 2 (TG2) has been shown to improve function and survival in a host of neurological conditions including stroke, Huntington's disease, and Parkinson's disease. However, unifying schemes by which these cross-linking or polyaminating enzymes participate broadly in neuronal death have yet to be presented. Unexpectedly, we found that in addition to TG2, TG1 gene expression level is significantly induced following stroke in vivo or due to oxidative stress in vitro. Forced expression of TG1 or TG2 proteins is sufficient to induce neuronal death in Rattus norvegicus cortical neurons in vitro. Accordingly, molecular deletion of TG2 alone is insufficient to protect Mus musculus neurons from oxidative death. By contrast, structurally diverse inhibitors used at concentrations that inhibit TG1 and TG2 simultaneously are neuroprotective. These small molecules inhibit increases in neuronal transamidating activity induced by oxidative stress; they also protect neurons downstream of pathological ERK activation when added well after the onset of the death stimulus. Together, these studies suggest that multiple TG isoforms, not only TG2, participate in oxidative stress-induced cell death signaling; and that isoform nonselective inhibitors of TG will be most efficacious in combating oxidative death in neurological disorders.