Naturally Occurring Epsilon Gamma Glutamyl Lysine Isopeptide Crosslinks in Human Neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y Cells

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4 Scopus citations


Zero-length isopeptide crosslinks between the side chains of glutamine and lysine are the product of transglutaminase activity. It is generally accepted that transglutaminase activity is dormant under physiological conditions because the calcium concentration inside cells is too low to activate transglutaminase to an open conformation with access to the catalytic triad. Traditional assays for transglutaminase activity measure incorporation of biotin pentylamine or of radiolabeled putrescine in the presence of added calcium. In this report, we identified naturally occurring isopeptide crosslinked proteins using the following steps: immunopurification of tryptic peptides by binding to anti-isopeptide antibody 81D1C2, separation of immunopurified peptides by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, Protein Prospector database searches of mass spectrometry data for isopeptide crosslinked peptides, and manual evaluation of candidate crosslinked peptide pairs. The most labor intense step was manual evaluation. We developed criteria for accepting and rejecting candidate crosslinked peptides and showed examples of MS/MS spectra that confirm or invalidate a possible crosslink. The SH-SY5Y cells that we examined for crosslinked proteins had not been exposed to calcium and had been lysed in the presence of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid. This precaution allows us to claim that the crosslinks we found inside the cells occurred naturally under physiological conditions. The quantity of crosslinks was very low, and the crosslinked proteins were mostly low abundance proteins. In conclusion, intracellular transglutaminase crosslinking/transamidase activity is very low but detectable. The low level of intracellular crosslinked proteins is consistent with tight regulation of transglutaminase activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21978-21986
Number of pages9
JournalACS Omega
Issue number25
StatePublished - Jun 28 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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