Opposing roles of Ras/Raf oncogenes and the MEK1/ERK signaling module in regulation of expression and adhesive function of surface transglutaminase

Sergey S. Akimov, Alexey M. Belkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Tissue transglutaminase (tTG) serves as a potent and ubiquitous integrin-associated adhesion co-receptor for fibronectin on the cell surface and affects several key integrin functions. Here we report that in fibroblasts, activated H-Ras and Raf-1 oncogenes decrease biosynthesis, association with β1 integrins, and surface expression of tTG because of down-regulation of tTG mRNA. In turn, the reduction of surface tTG inhibits adhesion of H-Ras- and Raf-1-transformed cells on fibronectin and, in particular, on its tTG-binding fragment I(6)II(1,2)I(7-9), which does not interact directly with integrins. Analysis of Ras/Raf downstream signaling with specific pharmacological inhibitors reveals that the decrease in tTG expression is mediated by the p38 MAPK, c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase, and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase pathways. In contrast, increased activation of the ERK pathway by constitutively active MEK1 stimulates tTG mRNA expression, biosynthesis, and surface expression of tTG, whereas MEK inhibitors or dominant negative MEK1 exert an opposite effect. This modulation of surface tTG by ERK signaling alters adhesion of cells on fibronectin and its fragment that binds tTG. Furthermore, transient stimulation of ERK signaling in untransformed fibroblasts by adhesion on fibronectin or growth factors elevates tTG biosynthesis, increases complex formation with β1 integrins, and raises surface expression of tTG. Finally, ERK activation is required for growth factor-induced redistribution of tTG on the surface of adherent fibroblasts and co-clustering of β1 integrins and tTG at cell-matrix adhesion contacts. Together, our data indicate that down-regulation of surface tTG by Ras and Raf oncogenes contributes to adhesive deficiency of transformed fibroblasts, whereas stimulation of biosynthesis and surface expression of tTG by the MEK1/ERK module promotes and sustains cell-matrix adhesion of untransformed cells. Contrasting effects of Ras/Raf oncogenes and their immediate downstream signaling module, MEK1/ERK, on tTG expression are consistent with adhesive function of surface tTG.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35609-35619
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number37
StatePublished - Sep 12 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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