We investigated protein expression and in situ activity of transglutaminases (TGs) in normal skin and various epidermal neoplasms. In normal skin, TG1 protein expression and TG activity were found at keratinocyte cell membranes in upper epidermis and granular layer, respectively. In seborrhoeic keratosis, TG1 protein was expressed evenly throughout tumors, while TG activity increased in gradient fashion from lower tumor area to cornified layer. In squamous cell carcinoma, TG1 protein was expressed at inner side of cell membranes, whereas TG activity was found in cytoplasm predominantly at horn pearls. In basal cell carcinoma, weak TG activity was found in cytoplasm of all tumor cells without the presence of TG1 protein. Immunoblotting and in situ activity assays using specific substrate peptides confirmed that TG2, but not TG1, contributed to the TG activity. These results suggested that different expression and activation of TGs may contribute to characteristics of the skin tumors.