Characterization of Transglutaminase 2 in macrophage clearance of apoptotic cells

  • Vinod Nadella

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Removal of dead or diseased cells is crucial feature of apoptosis for managing many biological processes such as tissue remodelling, tissue homeostasis and resolution and control of immune responses throughout life. Tissue transglutaminase (TG2) is a protein crosslinking enzyme that has been implicated in apoptotic cell clearance but also mediates many important cell functions including cell adhesion, migration and monocyte-macrophage differentiation. Cell surface-associated TG2 regulates cell adhesion and migration, via its association with receptors such as syndecan-4, ß1 and ß3 integrin. Whilst defective apoptotic cell clearance has been described in TG2-deficient mice, the precise extracellular role of TG2 in apoptotic cell clearance remains ill-defined. This thesis addresses macrophage TG2 in cell corpse clearance. TG2 expression (cytosolic and cell surface) in human macrophages was revealed and data demonstrate that loss of TG2 activity through the use of inhibitors of function, including cellimpermeable inhibitors significantly inhibit the ability of macrophages to clear apoptotic cells (AC). This includes reduced macrophage recruitment to and binding of apoptotic cells.
Association studies reveal TG2-syndecan-4 interaction through heparan sulphate side chains, and knockdown of syndecan-4 reduces cell surface TG2 activity and apoptotic cell clearance. Furthermore, inhibition of TG2 activity reduces crosslinking of CD44, reported to augment AC clearance. Thus it defines for the first time a role for TG2 activity at the cell surface of human macrophages in multiple stages of AC clearance and proposed that TG2, in association with heparan sulphates, may exert its effect on AC clearance via crosslinking of CD44.
Date of Award16 Dec 2013
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMartin Griffin (Supervisor) & Andrew Devitt (Supervisor)


  • transglutaminase 2
  • macrophage clearance
  • apoptotic cells

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