PAD enzymes mediate the conversion of arginine residues to the α-amino acid citrulline. The citrullination process is known to be important in the formation of structural tissues such as skin, hair, and the myelin sheath that insulates nerves. But sometimes PADs can be overactive, creating an excess of the citrullinated proteins that have been implicated in several diseases. For example, patients with rheumatoid arthritis make antibodies to citrullinated proteins. “These antibodies turn out to be the most specific diagnostic for the disease,” says Paul R. Thompson, a biochemistry professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, in Worcester, who studies PADs.
by Bethany Halford |
January 29, 2015