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Acta Neuropathol. 2010 Feb;119(2):199-210. doi: 10.1007/s00401-009-0625-x. Epub 2009 Dec 16.

Involvement of peptidylarginine deiminase-mediated post-translational citrullination in pathogenesis of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

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Ilsong Institute of Life Science, Hallym University, Anyang, Republic of Korea.


Peptidylarginine deiminases (PADs)-mediated post-translational citrullination processes play key roles in protein functions and structural stability through the conversion of arginine to citrulline in the presence of excessive calcium concentrations. In brain, PAD2 is abundantly expressed and can be involved in citrullination in disease. Recently, we have reported pathological characterization of PAD2 and citrullinated proteins in scrapie-infected mice, but the implication of protein citrullination in the pathophysiology in human prion disease is not clear. In the present study, we explored the molecular and biological involvement of PAD2 and the pathogenesis of citrullinated proteins in frontal cortex of patients with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD). We found increased expression of PAD2 in reactive astrocytes that also contained increased levels of citrullinated proteins. In addition, PAD activity was significantly elevated in patients with sCJD compared to controls. From two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and MALDI-TOF mass analysis, we found various citrullinated candidates, including cytoskeletal and energy metabolism-associated proteins such as vimentin, glial fibrillary acidic protein, enolase, and phosphoglycerate kinase. Based on these findings, our investigations suggest that PAD2 activation and aberrant citrullinated proteins could play a role in pathogenesis and have value as a marker for the postmortem classification of neurodegenerative diseases.

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