- DOI: 10.1002/mc.23356
Type 2 transglutaminase (TG2) functions as an important cancer cell survival protein in a range of cancers including epidermal squamous cell carcinoma. TG2 exists in open and closed conformations each of which has a distinct and mutually exclusive activity. The closed conformation has GTP-binding/GTPase activity while the open conformation functions as a transamidase to catalyze protein-protein crosslinking. GTP-binding/GTPase activity is required for TG2 maintenance of the aggressive cancer phenotype. Thus, identifying agents that convert TG2 from the closed to the open GTP-binding/GTPase inactive conformation is an important cancer prevention/treatment strategy. Sulforaphane (SFN) is an important diet-derived cancer prevention agent that is known to possess a reactive isothiocyanate group and has potent anticancer activity. Using a biotin-tagged SFN analog (Biotin-ITC) and kinetic analysis we show that SFN covalently and irreversibly binds to recombinant TG2 to inhibit transamidase activity and shift TG2 to an open/extended conformation, leading to a partial inhibition of GTP binding. We also show that incubation of cancer cells or cancer cell extract with Biotin-ITC results in formation of a TG2/Biotin-ITC complex and that SFN treatment of cancer cells inhibits TG2 transamidase activity and shifts TG2 to an open/extended conformation. These findings identify TG2 as a direct SFN anticancer target in epidermal squamous cell carcinoma.