Apoptosis or programmed cell death (PCD) is an active process of cellular self-destruction, essential for embryonic development and maintenance of homeostasis of multicellular organisms. Programmed cell death induction can serve as a defence mechanism of the host against intracellular microbes. Virus infections trigger host cell apoptosis, which can either limit virus production or contribute directly to viral pathogenesis. Several independent laboratories have identified "tissue" transglutaminase (tTG) as a potentially important player of the cell death program(s). This gene is specifically expressed in cells dying during mammalian development as well as in those undergoing apoptosis in various patho-physiological and experimental settings [Eur. J. Cell Biol. 56 (1991) 170; Piacentini, M., Davies, P.J.A., Fesus, L., 1994. Tissue transglutaminase in cells undergoing apoptosis. In: Tomei, L.D., Cope, F.O. (Eds.), Apoptosis II: The molecular basis of apoptosis in disease. Cold Spring Harbor Lab. Press, pp. 143-165.]. This chapter reviews recent studies concerning the expression and the possible role of "tissue" transglutaminase (tTG) in apoptotic cells; particular emphasis is given to its expression in the cell death pathways associated with HIV infection in the immune system. We propose here that the induction of the tTG gene in cells of the immune system, as well as the detection of the isodipeptide ε(γ-glutamyl)lysine in plasma, are useful markers of apoptosis and might make it possible to monitor disease progression in HIV-infected individuals.
- Activation-induced cell death
- Protein cross-links
- Tissue transglutaminase
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy