Transglutaminase 2 contributes to a TP53-induced autophagy program to prevent oncogenic transformation.

PMID 26956429


Genetic alterations which impair the function of the TP53 signaling pathway in TP53 wild-type human tumors remain elusive. To identify new components of this pathway, we performed a screen for genes whose loss-of-function debilitated TP53 signaling and enabled oncogenic transformation of human mammary epithelial cells. We identified transglutaminase 2 (TGM2) as a putative tumor suppressor in the TP53 pathway. TGM2 suppressed colony formation in soft agar and tumor formation in a xenograft mouse model. The depletion of growth supplements induced both TGM2 expression and autophagy in a TP53-dependent manner, and TGM2 promoted autophagic flux by enhancing autophagic protein degradation and autolysosome clearance. Reduced expression of both CDKN1A, which regulates the cell cycle downstream of TP53, and TGM2 synergized to promote oncogenic transformation. Our findings suggest that TGM2-mediated autophagy and CDKN1A-mediated cell cycle arrest are two important barriers in the TP53 pathway that prevent oncogenic transformation.