Retinoids exert antiproliferative and prodifferentiating effects in vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and reduce neointimal mass in balloon-injured blood vessels. The mechanisms through which retinoids carry out these effects are unknown but likely involve retinoid receptor-mediated changes in gene expression. Here we report the cloning, chromosomal mapping, and biological activity of the retinoid-response gene rat tissue transglutaminase (tTG). Northern blotting studies showed that tTG is rapidly and dose-dependently induced in a protein synthesis-independent manner after stimulation with the natural retinoid all-trans retinoic acid (atRA). The induction of tTG was selective for atRA and its stereoisomers 9-cis and 13-cis RA, because little or no elevation in mRNA expression was observed with a panel of growth factors. Western blotting and immunofluorescence confocal microscopy showed an accumulation of cytosolic tTG protein after atRA stimulation. Radiolabeled cross-linking studies revealed a corresponding elevation in in vitro tTG activity. The increase in tTG activity was reduced in the presence of 2 distinct inhibitors of tTG (monodansylcadaverine and cystamine), atRA-induced tTG mRNA and protein expression were followed by a significant elevation in SMC apoptosis. Such retinoid-induced programmed cell death could be partially inhibited with each tTG inhibitor and was completely blocked when both inhibitors were used simultaneously. These results establish a role for atRA in the sequential stimulation of tTG and apoptosis in cultured SMCs. atRA-mediated apoptosis in SMCs seems to require the participation of active tTG, suggestihg a potential mechanistic link between this retinoid-inducible gene and programmed cell death.
- Protein-glutamine γ-glutamyltransferase
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine