Type II transglutaminase stimulates epidermal cancer stem cell epithelial-mesenchymal transition

Matthew L. Fisher, Gautam Adhikary, Wen Xu, Candace Kerr, Jeffrey W. Keillor, Richard L. Eckert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Type II transglutaminase (TG2) is a multifunctional protein that has recently been implicated as having a role in ECS cell survival. In the present study we investigate the role of TG2 in regulating epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) in ECS cells. Our studies show that TG2 knockdown or treatment with TG2 inhibitor, results in a reduced EMT marker expression, and reduced cell migration and invasion. TG2 has several activities, but the most prominent are its transamidase and GTP binding activity. Analysis of a series of TG2 mutants reveals that TG2 GTP binding activity, but not the transamidase activity, is required for expression of EMT markers (Twist, Snail, Slug, vimentin, fibronectin, N-cadherin and HIF-1α), and increased ECS cell invasion and migration. This coupled with reduced expression of E-cadherin. Additional studies indicate that NFκB signaling, which has been implicated as mediating TG2 impact on EMT in breast cancer cells, is not involved in TG2 regulation of EMT in skin cancer. These studies suggest that TG2 is required for maintenance of ECS cell EMT, invasion and migration, and suggests that inhibiting TG2 GTP binding/G-protein related activity may reduce skin cancer tumor survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20525-20539
Number of pages15
Issue number24
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer stem cell
  • Epidermal squamous cell carcinoma
  • Epithelial mesenchymal transition
  • TG2
  • Type II transglutaminase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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