We have recently demonstrated that thrombin-activated FXIII (FXIIIA-subunit), a plasma transglutaminase, activates VEGFR-2 by crosslinking it with the αvβ3 integrin on the surface of endothelial cells (EC), thereby stimulating angiogenesis. Tissue transglutaminase (tTG), which is functionally and structurally related to FXIIIA, is expressed by numerous cell types, among them EC. However, its role in EC function has not been fully characterized. In the present study, we investigated the potential involvement of tTG in angiogenesis. Using co-immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescent staining experiments, we observed that tTG forms a complex with VEGFR-2 on the cell surface and within the cytoplasm of EC. Stimulation of EC with VEGF resulted in translocation of the tTG-VEGFR-2 complex from the cytoplasm to the nucleus. In VEGF-treated cells, tTG-VEGFR-2 interaction resulted in incorporation of VEGFR-2 into high molecular weight crosslinked complex (es), as revealed by an antibody against γ-glutamyl-ε-lysine isopeptide bond. tTG -VEGFR-2 association was inhibited by a specific VEGFR-2 protein tyrosine kinase inhibitor (PTKI ), as well as by cystamine, inhibitor of the transglutaminase activity of tTG, but not by bacitracin which inhibits the protein-disulfide isomerase (PDI) activity of tTG. Furthermore, cystamine completely abolished the VEGF-induced nuclear translocation of the tTG-VEGFR-2 complex. Blockade of the crosslinking activity of tTG by cystamine enhanced VEGF-induced migration of EC in Boyden chamber by 31% (P < 0.02), and prolonged VEGF-induced signaling response, as demonstrated by sustained activation of the MAP kinase ERK. Taken together, our findings suggest that endothelial cell tTG might be involved in modulation of the cellular response to VEGF by forming an intracellular complex with VEGFR-2, and mediating its translocation into the nucleus upon VEGF stimulation.