A number of lines of evidence suggest that transglutaminase 2 (TG2) may be one of the earliest disease-relevant proteins to encounter immunotoxic gluten in the celiac gut. These and other investigations also suggest that the reaction catalyzed by TG2 on dietary gluten peptides is essential for the pathogenesis of celiac disease. If so, several questions are of critical significance. How is TG2 activated in the celiac gut? What are the disease-specific and general consequences of activating TG2? Can local inhibition of TG2 in the celiac intestine suppress gluten induced pathogenesis in a dose-responsive manner? And what are the long-term consequences of suppressing TG2 activity in the small intestinal mucosa? Answers to these questions will depend upon the development of judicious models and chemical tools. They also have the potential of yielding powerful next-generation drug candidates for treating this widespread but overlooked chronic disease.
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