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Protein arginine deiminase 4: a target for an epigenetic cancer therapy

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 12:01pm

The recent approvals of anticancer therapeutic agents targeting the histone deacetylases and DNA methyltransferases have highlighted the important role that epigenetics plays in human diseases, and suggested that the factors controlling gene expression are novel drug targets. Protein arginine deiminase 4 (PAD4) is one such target because its effects on gene expression parallel those observed for the histone deacetylases. We demonstrated that F- and Cl-amidine, two potent PAD4 inhibitors, display micromolar cytotoxic effects towards several cancerous cell lines (HL-60, MCF7 and HT-29); no effect was observed in noncancerous lines (NIH 3T3 and HL-60 granulocytes). These compounds also induced the differentiation of HL-60 and HT29 cells. Finally, these compounds synergistically potentiated the cell killing effects of doxorubicin. Taken together, these findings suggest PAD4 inhibition as a novel epigenetic approach for the treatment of cancer, and suggest that F- and Cl-amidine are candidate therapeutic agents for this disease.

N-alpha-benzoyl-N5-(2-chloro-1-iminoethyl)-L-ornithine amide, a protein arginine deiminase inhibitor, reduces the severity of murine collagen-induced arthritis

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 12:01pm

Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with the development of autoantibodies to citrullinated self-proteins. Citrullinated synovial proteins, which are generated via the actions of the protein arginine deiminases (PADs), are known to develop in the murine collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) model of inflammatory arthritis. Given these findings, we evaluated whether N-alpha-benzoyl-N5-(2-chloro-1-iminoethyl)-L-ornithine amide (Cl-amidine), a recently described pan-PAD inhibitor, could affect the development of arthritis and autoimmunity by treating mice in the CIA model with Cl-amidine on days 0-35. Cl-amidine treatment reduced total synovial and serum citrullination, decreased clinical disease activity by approximately 50%, and significantly decreased IgG2a anti-mouse type II collagen Abs. Additionally, histopathology scores and total complement C3 deposition were significantly lower in Cl-amidine-treated mice compared with vehicle controls. Synovial microarray analyses demonstrated decreased IgG reactivity to several native and citrullinated epitopes compared with vehicle controls. Cl-amidine treatment had no ameliorative effect on collagen Ab-induced arthritis, suggesting its primary protective mechanism was not mediated through effector pathways. Reduced levels of citrullinated synovial proteins observed in mice treated with Cl-amidine are consistent with the notion that Cl-amidine derives its efficacy from its ability to inhibit the deiminating activity of PADs. In total, these results suggested that PADs are necessary participants in the autoimmune and subsequent inflammatory processes in CIA. Cl-amidine may represent a novel class of disease-modifying agents that modulate aberrant citrullination, and perhaps other immune processes, necessary for the development of inflammatory arthritis.

Mechanistic studies on transcriptional coactivator protein arginine methyltransferase 1

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 12:01pm

Protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) catalyze the transfer of methyl groups from S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) to the guanidinium group of arginine residues in a number of important cell signaling proteins. PRMT1 is the founding member of this family, and its activity appears to be dysregulated in heart disease and cancer. To begin to characterize the catalytic mechanism of this isozyme, we assessed the effects of mutating a number of highly conserved active site residues (i.e., Y39, R54, E100, E144, E153, M155, and H293), which are believed to play key roles in SAM recognition, substrate binding, and catalysis. The results of these studies, as well as pH-rate studies, and the determination of solvent isotope effects (SIEs) indicate that M155 plays a critical role in both SAM binding and the processivity of the reaction but is not responsible for the regiospecific formation of asymmetrically dimethylated arginine (ADMA). Additionally, mutagenesis studies on H293, combined with pH studies and the lack of a normal SIE, do not support a role for this residue as a general base. Furthermore, the lack of a normal SIE with either the wild type or catalytically impaired mutants suggests that general acid/base catalysis is not important for promoting methyl transfer. This result, combined with the fact that the E144A/E153A double mutant retains considerably more activity then the single mutants alone, suggests that the PRMT1-catalyzed reaction is primarily driven by bringing the substrate guanidinium into the proximity of the S-methyl group of SAM and that the prior deprotonation of the substrate guanidinium is not required for methyl transfer.

Boronic acid functionalized peptidyl synthetic lectins: combinatorial library design, peptide sequencing, and selective glycoprotein recognition

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 12:01pm

Aberrant glycosylation of cell membrane and secreted glycoproteins is a hallmark of various disease states, including cancer. The natural lectins currently used in the recognition of these glycoproteins are costly, difficult to produce, and unstable toward rigorous use. Herein we describe the design and synthesis of several boronic acid functionalized peptide-based synthetic lectin (SL) libraries, as well as the optimized methodology for obtaining peptide sequences of these SLs. SL libraries were subsequently used to identify SLs with as high as 5-fold selectivity for various glycoproteins. SLs will inevitably find a role in cancer diagnostics, given that they do not suffer from the drawbacks of natural lectins and that the combinatorial nature of these libraries allows for the identification of an SL for nearly any glycosylated biomolecule.

Autodeimination of protein arginine deiminase 4 alters protein-protein interactions but not activity.

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 12:01pm

The protein arginine deiminases (PAD), which catalyze the hydrolysis of peptidyl-arginine to form peptidyl-citrulline, play important roles in a variety of cell signaling pathways, including apoptosis, differentiation, and transcriptional regulation. In addition to these important cellular roles, PAD activity is dysregulated in multiple human diseases [e.g., rheumatoid arthritis (RA), cancer, and colitis], and significantly, PAD inhibition with Cl-amidine has been shown to reduce disease severity in the collagen-induced arthritis model of RA. Although these enzymes play important roles in human cell signaling and disease, the mechanisms that regulate PAD activity under both physiological and pathological conditions are poorly understood. One possible mechanism for regulating PAD activity is autodeimination, to which PAD4 has been shown by us and others to be subjected in vitro and in vivo. Herein, we demonstrate that PAD4 autodeimination does not alter the activity, substrate specificity, or calcium dependence of this isozyme. However, the results of these studies indicate a novel role for autodeimination in modulating the ability of PAD4 to interact with histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC1), citrullinated histone H3 (Cit H3), and protein arginine methyltransferase 1 (PRMT1).

Development and use of clickable activity based protein profiling agents for protein arginine deiminase 4.

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 12:01pm

The protein arginine deiminases (PADs), which catalyze the hydrolysis of peptidyl-arginine to form peptidyl-citrulline, are potential targets for the development of a rheumatoid arthritis (RA) therapeutic, as well as other human diseases including colitis and cancer. Additionally, these enzymes, and in particular PAD4, appear to play important roles in a variety of cell signaling pathways including apoptosis, differentiation, and transcriptional regulation. To better understand the factors that regulate in vivo PAD4 activity, we set out to design and synthesize a series of activity-based protein profiling (ABPP) reagents that target this enzyme. Herein we describe the design, synthesis, and evaluation of six ABPPs including (i) FITC-conjugated F-amidine (FFA1 and 2) and Cl-amidine (FCA1 and 2), and (ii) biotin-conjugated F-amidine (BFA) and Cl-amidine (BCA). We further demonstrate the utility of these probes for labeling PAD4 in cells, as well as for isolating PAD4 and PAD4 binding proteins. These probes will undoubtedly prove to be powerful tools that can be used to dissect the factors controlling the dynamics of PAD4 expression, activity, and function.

Genome-wide analysis reveals PADI4 cooperates with Elk-1 to activate c-Fos expression in breast cancer cells.

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 12:01pm

Peptidylarginine deiminase IV (PADI4) catalyzes the conversion of positively charged arginine and methylarginine residues to neutrally charged citrulline, and this activity has been linked to the repression of a limited number of target genes. To broaden our knowledge of the regulatory potential of PADI4, we utilized chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled with promoter tiling array (ChIP-chip) analysis to more comprehensively investigate the range of PADI4 target genes across the genome in MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Results showed that PADI4 is enriched in gene promoter regions near transcription start sites (TSSs); and, surprisingly, this pattern of binding is primarily associated with actively transcribed genes. Computational analysis found potential binding sites for Elk-1, a member of the ETS oncogene family, to be highly enriched around PADI4 binding sites; and coimmunoprecipitation analysis then confirmed that Elk-1 physically associates with PADI4. To better understand how PADI4 may facilitate gene transactivation, we then show that PADI4 interacts with Elk-1 at the c-Fos promoter and that, following Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) stimulation, PADI4 catalytic activity facilitates Elk-1 phosphorylation, histone H4 acetylation, and c-Fos transcriptional activation. These results define a novel role for PADI4 as a transcription factor co-activator.

Suppression of colitis in mice by Cl-amidine: a novel peptidylarginine deiminase inhibitor.

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 12:01pm

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), mainly Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, are dynamic, chronic inflammatory conditions that are associated with an increased colon cancer risk. Inflammatory cell apoptosis is a key mechanism for regulating IBD. Peptidylarginine deiminases (PADs) catalyze the posttranslational conversion of peptidylarginine to peptidylcitrulline in a calcium-dependent, irreversible reaction and mediate the effects of proinflammatory cytokines. Because PAD levels are elevated in mouse and human colitis, we hypothesized that a novel small-molecule inhibitor of the PADs, i.e., chloramidine (Cl-amidine), could suppress colitis in a dextran sulfate sodium mouse model. Results are consistent with this hypothesis, as demonstrated by the finding that Cl-amidine treatment, both prophylactic and after the onset of disease, reduced the clinical signs and symptoms of colitis, without any indication of toxic side effects. Interestingly, Cl-amidine drives apoptosis of inflammatory cells in vitro and in vivo, providing a mechanism by which Cl-amidine suppresses colitis. In total, these data help validate the PADs as therapeutic targets for the treatment of IBD and further suggest Cl-amidine as a candidate therapy for this disease.

Protein deiminases: new players in the developmentally regulated loss of neural regenerative ability.

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 12:01pm

Spinal cord regenerative ability is lost with development, but the mechanisms underlying this loss are still poorly understood. In chick embryos, effective regeneration does not occur after E13, when spinal cord injury induces extensive apoptotic response and tissue damage. As initial experiments showed that treatment with a calcium chelator after spinal cord injury reduced apoptosis and cavitation, we hypothesized that developmentally regulated mediators of calcium-dependent processes in secondary injury response may contribute to loss of regenerative ability. To this purpose we screened for such changes in chick spinal cords at stages of development permissive (E11) and non-permissive (E15) for regeneration. Among the developmentally regulated calcium-dependent proteins identified was PAD3, a member of the peptidylarginine deiminase (PAD) enzyme family that converts protein arginine residues to citrulline, a process known as deimination or citrullination. This post-translational modification has not been previously associated with response to injury. Following injury, PAD3 up-regulation was greater in spinal cords injured at E15 than at E11. Consistent with these differences in gene expression, deimination was more extensive at the non-regenerating stage, E15, both in the gray and white matter. As deimination paralleled the extent of apoptosis, we investigated the effect of blocking PAD activity on cell death and deiminated-histone 3, one of the PAD targets we identified by mass-spectrometry analysis of spinal cord deiminated proteins. Treatment with the PAD inhibitor, Cl-amidine, reduced the abundance of deiminated-histone 3, consistent with inhibition of PAD activity, and significantly reduced apoptosis and tissue loss following injury at E15. Altogether, our findings identify PADs and deimination as developmentally regulated modulators of secondary injury response, and suggest that PADs might be valuable therapeutic targets for spinal cord injury.

Kinase consensus sequences: a breeding ground for crosstalk

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 12:01pm

The best characterized examples of crosstalk between two or more different post-translational modifications (PTMs) occur with respect to histones. These examples demonstrate the critical roles that crosstalk plays in regulating cell signaling pathways. Recently, however, non-histone crosstalk has been observed between serine/threonine phosphorylation and the modification of arginine and lysine residues within kinase consensus sequences. Interestingly, many kinase consensus sequences contain critical arginine/lysine residues surrounding the substrate serine/threonine residue. Therefore, we hypothesize that non-histone crosstalk between serine/threonine phosphorylation and arginine/lysine modifications is a global mechanism for the modulation of cellular signaling. In this review, we discuss several recent examples of non-histone kinase consensus sequence crosstalk, as well as provide the biophysical basis for these observations. In addition, we predict likely examples of crosstalk between protein arginine methyltransferase 1 (PRMT1) and Akt and discuss the future implications of these findings.

The development of N-alpha-(2-carboxyl)benzoyl-N(5)-(2-fluoro-1-iminoethyl)-l-ornithine amide (o-F-amidine) and N-alpha-(2-carboxyl)benzoyl-N(5)-(2-chloro-1-iminoethyl)-l-ornithine amide (o-Cl-amidine) as second generation protein arginine deiminase (PAD)

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 12:01pm

Protein arginine deiminase (PAD) activity is upregulated in a number of human diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and cancer. These enzymes, there are five in humans (PADs 1-4 and 6), regulate gene transcription, cellular differentiation, and the innate immune response. Building on our successful generation of F- and Cl-amidine, which irreversibly inhibit all of the PADs, a structure-activity relationship was performed to develop second generation compounds with improved potency and selectivity. Incorporation of a carboxylate ortho to the backbone amide resulted in the identification of N-alpha-(2-carboxyl)benzoyl-N(5)-(2-fluoro-1-iminoethyl)-l-ornithine amide (o-F-amidine) and N-alpha-(2-carboxyl)benzoyl-N(5)-(2-chloro-1-iminoethyl)-l-ornithine amide (o-Cl-amidine), as PAD inactivators with improved potency (up to 65-fold) and selectivity (up to 25-fold). Relative to F- and Cl-amidine, the compounds also show enhanced potency in cellulo. As such, these compounds will be versatile chemical probes of PAD function.

Activity-based protein profiling of protein arginine methyltransferase 1

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 12:01pm

The protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) are SAM-dependent enzymes that catalyze the mono- and dimethylation of peptidyl arginine residues. PRMT1 is the founding member of the PRMT family, and this isozyme is responsible for methylating approximately 85% of the arginine residues in mammalian cells. Additionally, PRMT1 activity is aberrantly upregulated in heart disease and cancer. As a part of a program to develop isozyme-specific PRMT inhibitors, we recently described the design and synthesis of C21, a chloroacetamidine bearing histone H4 tail analogue that acts as an irreversible PRMT1 inhibitor. Given the covalent nature of the interaction, we set out to develop activity-based probes (ABPs) that could be used to characterize the physiological roles of PRMT1. Herein, we report the design, synthesis, and characterization of fluorescein-conjugated C21 (F-C21) and biotin-conjugated C21 (B-C21) as PRMT1-specific ABPs. Additionally, we provide the first evidence that PRMT1 activity is negatively regulated in a spatial and temporal fashion.

Activation of PAD4 in NET formation

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 12:01pm

Peptidylarginine deiminases, or PADs, convert arginine residues to the non-ribosomally encoded amino acid citrulline in a variety of protein substrates. PAD4 is expressed in granulocytes and is essential for the formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) via PAD4-mediated histone citrullination. Citrullination of histones is thought to promote NET formation by inducing chromatin decondensation and facilitating the expulsion of chromosomal DNA that is coated with antimicrobial molecules. Numerous stimuli have been reported to lead to PAD4 activation and NET formation. However, how this signaling process proceeds and how PAD4 becomes activated in cells is largely unknown. Herein, we describe the various stimuli and signaling pathways that have been implicated in PAD4 activation and NET formation, including the role of reactive oxygen species generation. To provide a foundation for the above discussion, we first describe PAD4 structure and function, and how these studies led to the development of PAD-specific inhibitors. A comprehensive survey of the receptors and signaling pathways that regulate PAD4 activation will be important for our understanding of innate immunity, and the identification of signaling intermediates in PAD4 activation may also lead to the generation of pharmaceuticals to target NET-related pathogenesis.

Potential role of peptidylarginine deiminase enzymes and protein citrullination in cancer pathogenesis.

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 12:01pm

The peptidylarginine deiminases (PADs) are a family of posttranslational modification enzymes that catalyze the conversion of positively charged protein-bound arginine and methylarginine residues to the uncharged, nonstandard amino acid citrulline. This enzymatic activity is referred to as citrullination or, alternatively, deimination. Citrullination can significantly affect biochemical pathways by altering the structure and function of target proteins. Five mammalian PAD family members (PADs 1-4 and 6) have been described and show tissue-specific distribution. Recent reviews on PADs have focused on their role in autoimmune diseases. Here, we will discuss the potential role of PADs in tumor progression and tumor-associated inflammation. In the context of cancer, increasing clinical evidence suggests that PAD4 (and possibly PAD2) has important roles in tumor progression. The link between PADs and cancer is strengthened by recent findings showing that treatment of cell lines and mice with PAD inhibitors significantly suppresses tumor growth and, interestingly, inflammatory symptoms. At the molecular level, transcription factors, coregulators, and histones are functional targets for citrullination by PADs, and citrullination of these targets can affect gene expression in multiple tumor cell lines. Next generation isozyme-specific PAD inhibitors may have therapeutic potential to regulate both the inflammatory tumor microenvironment and tumor cell growth.

Synthesis and screening of a haloacetamidine containing library to identify PAD4 selective inhibitors.

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 12:01pm

Protein arginine deiminase activity (PAD) is increased in cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and ulcerative colitis. Although the link between abnormal PAD activity and disease is clear, the relative contribution of the individual PADs to human disease is not known; there are 5 PAD isozymes in humans. Building on our previous development of F- and Cl-amidine as potent pan-PAD irreversible inhibitors, we describe herein a library approach that was used to identify PAD-selective inhibitors. Specifically, we describe the identification of Thr-Asp-F-amidine (TDFA) as a highly potent PAD4 inactivator that displays > /=15-fold selectivity for PAD4 versus PAD1 and > /=50-fold versus PADs 2 and 3. This compound is active in cells and can be used to inhibit PAD4 activity in cellulo. The structure of the PAD4.TDFA complex has also been solved, and the structure and mutagenesis data indicate that the enhanced potency is due to interactions between the side chains of Q346, R374, and R639. Finally, we converted TDFA into a PAD4-selective ABPP and demonstrated that this compound, biotin-TDFA, can be used to selectively isolate purified PAD4 in vitro. In total, TDFA and biotin-TDFA represent PAD4-selective chemical probes that can be used to study the physiological roles of this enzyme.

Kinetic mechanism of protein arginine methyltransferase 6 (PRMT6).

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 12:01pm

The protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) are a family of enzymes that catalyze the mono- and dimethylation of arginine residues in a variety of proteins. Although these enzymes play important roles in a variety of cellular processes, aberrant PRMT activity is associated with several disease states, including heart disease and cancer. In an effort to guide the development of inhibitors targeting individual PRMTs, we initiated studies to characterize the molecular mechanisms of PRMT catalysis. Herein, we report studies on the kinetic mechanism of PRMT6. Initial velocity, product inhibition, and dead-end analog inhibition studies with the AcH4-21 and R1 peptides, as well as their monomethylated versions, indicate, in contrast to a previous report, that PRMT6 utilizes a rapid equilibrium random mechanism with dead-end EAP and EBQ complexes.

Human protein N-terminal acetyltransferase hNaa50p (hNAT5/hSAN) follows ordered sequential catalytic mechanism: combined kinetic and NMR study.

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 12:01pm

N(alpha)-acetylation is a common protein modification catalyzed by different N-terminal acetyltransferases (NATs). Their essential role in the biogenesis and degradation of proteins is becoming increasingly evident. The NAT hNaa50p preferentially modifies peptides starting with methionine followed by a hydrophobic amino acid. hNaa50p also possesses N(epsilon)-autoacetylation activity. So far, no eukaryotic NAT has been mechanistically investigated. In this study, we used NMR spectroscopy, bisubstrate kinetic assays, and product inhibition experiments to demonstrate that hNaa50p utilizes an ordered Bi Bi reaction of the Theorell-Chance type. The NMR results, both the substrate binding study and the dynamic data, further indicate that the binding of acetyl-CoA induces a conformational change that is required for the peptide to bind to the active site. In support of an ordered Bi Bi reaction mechanism, addition of peptide in the absence of acetyl-CoA did not alter the structure of the protein. This model is further strengthened by the NMR results using a catalytically inactive hNaa50p mutant.

Felty's syndrome autoantibodies bind to deiminated histones and neutrophil extracellular chromatin traps.

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 12:01pm

OBJECTIVE: To test the hypothesis that autoantigen modifications by peptidylarginine deiminase type 4 (PAD-4) increase immunoreactivity.

METHODS: We assembled sera from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Felty's syndrome (FS), and antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitides (AAVs), as well as sera from control subjects without autoimmune diseases. The sera were tested for binding to activated neutrophils, deiminated histones, and neutrophil extracellular chromatin traps (NETs). IgG binding to lipopolysaccharide-activated neutrophils was assessed with confocal microscopy, and binding to in vitro-deiminated histones was measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and Western blotting. In addition, we quantitated histone deimination in freshly isolated neutrophils from the blood of patients and control subjects.

RESULTS: Increased IgG reactivity with activated neutrophils, particularly binding to NETs, was paralleled by preferential binding to deiminated histones over nondeiminated histones by ELISA in a majority of sera from FS patients but only in a minority of sera from SLE and RA patients. Immunoblotting revealed autoantibody preference for deiminated histones H3, H4, and H2A in most FS patients and in a subset of SLE and RA patients. In patients with AAVs, serum IgG preferentially bound nondeiminated histones over deiminated histones. Increased levels of deiminated histones were detected in neutrophils from RA patients.

CONCLUSION: Circulating autoantibodies in FS are preferentially directed against PAD-4-deiminated histones and bind to activated neutrophils and NETs. Thus, increased reactivity with modified autoantigens in FS implies a direct contribution of neutrophil activation and the production of NET-associated nuclear autoantigens in the initiation or progression of FS.

Probing adenylation: using a fluorescently labelled ATP probe to directly label and immunoprecipitate VopS substrates.

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 12:01pm

The bacterial effector VopS from Vibrio parahaemolyticus modifies host Rho GTPases to prevent downstream signalling, which leads to cell rounding and eventually apoptosis. While previous studies have used [alpha-(32)P] ATP for studying this enzyme, we sought to develop a non-radioactive chemical probe of VopS function. To guide these studies, the kinetic parameters were determined for a variety of nucleotides and the results indicated that the C6 position of adenosine was amenable to modification. Since Fl-ATP is a commercially available ATP analogue that is fluorescently tagged at the C6 position, we tested it as a VopS substrate, and the results show that VopS uses Fl-ATP to label Cdc42 in vitro and in MCF7 whole cell extracts. The utility of this probe was further demonstrated by immunoprecipitating Fl-ATP labeled Cdc42 as well as several novel substrate proteins. The proteins, which were identified by LC-MS/MS, include the small GTPases Rac1 and Cdc42 as well as several proteins that are potential VopS substrates and may be important for V. parahaemolyticus pathology. In total, these studies identify Fl-ATP as a valuable chemical probe of protein AMPylation.

Potential role for PADI-mediated histone citrullination in preimplantation development.

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 12:00pm

BACKGROUND: The peptidylarginine deiminases (PADIs) convert positively charged arginine residues to neutrally charged citrulline on protein substrates in a process that is known as citrullination or deimination. Previous reports have documented roles for histone citrullination in chromatin remodeling and gene regulation in several tissue types, however, a potential role for histone citrullination in chromatin-based activities during early embryogenesis has not been investigated.

RESULTS: In the present study, we tested by laser scanning confocal indirect immunofluorescence microscopy whether specific arginine residues on the histone H3 and H4 N-terminal tails (H4R3, H3R2 + 8 + 17, and H3R26) were citrullinated in mouse oocytes and preimplantation embryos. Results showed that all of the tested residues were deiminated with each site showing a unique localization pattern during early development. Given these findings, we next tested whether inhibition of PADI activity using the PADI-specific inhibitor, Cl-amidine, may affect embryonic development. We found that treatment of pronuclear stage zygotes with Cl-amidine reduces both histone H3 and H4 tail citrullination and also potently blocks early cleavage divisions in vitro. Additionally, we found that the Cl-amidine treatment reduces acetylation at histone H3K9, H3K18, and H4K5 while having no apparent effect on the repressive histone H3K9 dimethylation modification. Lastly, we found that treatment of zygotes with trichostatin A (TSA) to induce hyperacetylation also resulted in an increase in histone citrullination at H3R2 + 8 + 17.

CONCLUSIONS: Given the observed effects of Cl-amidine on embryonic development and the well documented correlation between histone acetylation and transcriptional activation, our findings suggest that histone citrullination may play an important role in facilitating gene expression in early embryos by creating a chromatin environment that is permissive for histone acetylation.