In vivo and in vitro induction of 'tissue' transglutaminase in rat hepatocytes by retinoic acid

Piacentini, M.; Cerù, M.P.; Dini, L.; Di Rao, M.; Piredda, L.; Thomazy, V.; Davies, P.J.; Fesus, L.

Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1135(2): 171-179


ISSN/ISBN: 0006-3002
PMID: 1352130
DOI: 10.1016/0167-4889(92)90134-w
Accession: 007441218

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Tissue transglutaminase (tTG) expression was found to be induced in rat liver following in vivo retinoic acid (RA) treatment (Piacentini et al. (1988) Biochem. J. 253, 33-38). Here we show that the increased enzyme expression in rat liver is at least partially the result of the action of RA in parenchymal cells. In fact, (a) when hepatocytes are isolated from RA-treated animals their transglutaminase protein content is much higher than in similarly isolated control cells; (b) higher tTG protein level is also found by immunoelectronmicroscopy in the hepatocytes of the RA-treated rats as compared with the very low amount detected in the controls; (c) RA induces tTG in hepatocytes under culture conditions as well. One of the functions of tTG is to form a protein polymer in dying apoptotic cells by epsilon(gamma-glutamyl)lysine and, specifically gamma-glutamylpolyamine cross-links (Fesus et al. (1989) FEBS Lett. 245, 150-154). Noteworthy, after in vivo and in vitro RA-treatment we could not determine any increase (there was even a slight decrease) in the number of the cross-linked apoptotic envelopes. In keeping with this is the significant reduction of protein bound gamma-glutamylpolyamine detected in hepatocytes exposed to RA in culture. These findings suggest that the RA-induced tTG in parenchimal cells is an inactive form.