Tissue Transglutaminase (TG2) is a potential therapeutic target in the treatment of chemoresistant breast cancer

  • Vidya Rajasekaran

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Tissue transglutaminase (TG2) has been suggested to be a key player in the progression and metastasis of chemoresistant breast cancer. One of the foremost survival signalling pathways implicated in causing drug resistance in breast cancer is the constitutive activation of NFκB (Nuclear Factor -kappa B) induced by TG2. This study provides a mechanism by which TG2 constitutively activates NFκB which in turn confers chemoresistance to breast cancer cells against doxorubicin. Breast cancer cell lines with varying expression levels of TG2 as well as TG2 null breast cancer cells transfected with TG2 were used as the major cell models for this study. This study made use of cell permeable and impermeable TG2 inhibitors, specific TG2 and Rel A/ p65 targeting siRNA, TG2 functional blocking antibodies, IKK inhibitors and a specific targeting peptide against Rel A/p65 to investigate the pathway of activation involved in the constitutive activation of NFκB by TG2 leading to drug resistance. Crucial to the activation of Rel A/p65 and drug resistance in the breast cancer cells is the interaction between the complex of IκBα and Rel A/p65 with TG2 which results in the dimerization of Rel A/p65 and polymerization of IκBα. The association of TG2 with the IκBα-NFκB complex was determined to be independent of IKKα/β function. The polymerized IκBα is degraded in the cytoplasm by the μ-calpain pathway which allows the cross linked Rel A/ p65 dimers to translocate into the nucleus. Using R283 and ZDON (cell permeable TG2 activity inhibitors) and specific TG2 targeting siRNA, the Rel A/ p65 dimer formation could be inhibited. Co-immunoprecipitation studies confirmed that the phosphorylation of the Rel A/p65 dimers at the Ser536 residue by IKKε took place in the cell nucleus. Importantly, this study also investigated the transcriptional regulation of the TGM2 gene by the pSer536 Rel A/ p65 dimer and the importance of this TG2-NFκB feedback loop in conferring drug resistance to breast cancer cells. This data provides evidence that TG2 could be a key therapeutic target in the treatment of chemoresistant breast cancer.
Date of Award11 Mar 2014
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMartin Griffin (Supervisor), Zhuo Wang (Supervisor) & Russell Collighan (Supervisor)


  • tissue transglutaminase (TG2)
  • therapeutic target
  • treatment
  • chemoresistant breast cancer

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