Tissue transglutaminase: a novel pharmacological target in preventing toxic protein aggregation in neurodegenerative diseases

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Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease are neurodegenerative diseases, characterized by the accumulation and deposition of neurotoxic protein aggregates. The capacity of specific proteins to self-interact and form neurotoxic aggregates seems to be a common underlying mechanism leading to pathology in these neurodegenerative diseases. This process might be initiated and/or accelerated by proteins that interact with these aggregating proteins. The transglutaminase (TG) family of proteins are calcium-dependent enzymes that catalyze the formation of covalent epsilon-(gamma-glutamyl)lysine isopeptide bonds, which can result in both intra- and intermolecular cross-links. Intramolecular cross-links might modify self-interacting proteins, and make them more prone to aggregate. In addition, intermolecular cross-links could link self-aggregating proteins and thereby initiate and/or stimulate the aggregation process. So far, increased levels and activity of tissue transglutaminase (tTG), the best characterized member of the TG family, have been observed in many neurodegenerative diseases, and the self-interacting proteins, characteristic of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease, are known substrates of tTG. Here, we focus on the role of tTG in the initiation of the aggregation process of self-interacting proteins in these diseases, and promote the notion that tTG might be an attractive novel target for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-472
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2008

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