Tissue transglutaminase expression promotes cell attachment, invasion and survival in breast cancer cells

Oncogene. 2007 Apr 12;26(17):2459-70. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1210035. Epub 2006 Oct 16.


Distant metastasis is frequently observed in patients with breast cancer and is a major cause of cancer-related deaths in these patients. Currently, very little is known about the mechanisms that underlie the development of the metastatic phenotype in breast cancer cells. We previously found that metastatic breast cancer cells express high levels of tissue transglutaminase (TG2), but established no direct link between TG2 and metastasis. In this study, we hypothesized that TG2 plays a role in conferring the metastatic phenotype to breast cancer cells. The results obtained suggested that increased expression of TG2 in breast cancer cells contributes to their increased survival, invasion and motility. We further found that TG2 protein in a metastatic breast cancer MDA-MB231 cells was present on the cell surface in close association with integrins beta1, beta4 and beta5. Downregulation of endogenous TG2 by small interfering RNA inhibited fibronectin (Fn)-mediated cell attachment, survival and invasion. Conversely, ectopic expression of TG2 augmented invasion of breast cancer cells and attachment to Fn-coated surfaces. We conclude that TG2 expression in breast cancer cells plays an important role in the development of the metastatic phenotype.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / secondary
  • Cell Adhesion / genetics
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival / genetics
  • Female
  • GTP-Binding Proteins
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / genetics
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / pathology
  • Phenotype
  • Protein Glutamine gamma Glutamyltransferase 2
  • Transglutaminases / biosynthesis*
  • Transglutaminases / genetics*
  • Transglutaminases / physiology


  • Protein Glutamine gamma Glutamyltransferase 2
  • Transglutaminases
  • GTP-Binding Proteins