Modification of the enzymatic functions of tissue transglutaminase (TG2) by anti-TG2 autoantibodies may play a role in manifestations of coeliac disease. Our aim was to evaluate the effect of coeliac autoantibodies on reactions catalysed by TG2 by a systematic biochemical approach, and in relation to observed clinical presentation type. Coeliac antibodies did not have significant inhibitory effect on transamidation/deamidation activity of TG2 as measured by amine-incorporation into solid and immobilised casein and by ultraviolet kinetic assay. In contrast, immunoglobulins from patients with severe malabsorption enhanced the reaction velocity to 105.4-242.2%. This activating effect was dose-dependent, most pronounced with immobilised glutamine-acceptor substrates, and correlated inversely with the basal specific activity of the enzyme and with dietary treatment. A similar activation could be demonstrated also with the TG2-specific fraction of autoantibodies and in transamidation activity assays which use fibronectin-bound TG2 and thereby mimic in vivo conditions. These results suggest that coeliac antibodies may stabilise the enzyme in a catalytically advantageous conformation. GTPase activity of TG2 decreased to 67.0-73.4% in the presence of antibodies raising the possibility that inhibition of GTPase activity may affect cellular signalling in case coeliac autoantibodies would reach intracellular compartments.