Transglutaminases: crosslinking enzymes with pleiotropic functions

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2003 Feb;4(2):140-56. doi: 10.1038/nrm1014.


Blood coagulation, skin-barrier formation, hardening of the fertilization envelope, extracellular-matrix assembly and other important biological processes are dependent on the rapid generation of covalent crosslinks between proteins. These reactions--which are catalysed by transglutaminases--endow the resulting supramolecular structure with extra rigidity and resistance against proteolytic degradation. Some transglutaminases function as molecular switches in cytoskeletal scaffolding and modulate protein-protein interactions. Having knowledge of these enzymes is essential for understanding the aetiologies of diverse hereditary diseases of the blood and skin, and various autoimmune, inflammatory and degenerative conditions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Autoimmune Diseases / enzymology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / etiology
  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Transglutaminases / physiology*
  • Transglutaminases / therapeutic use


  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • Transglutaminases