Peptidylarginine deiminase type 4 (PAD4/PADI4) post-translationally converts peptidylarginine to citrulline. Recent studies suggest that PADI4 represses expression of p53-regulated genes via citrullination of histones at gene promoters.
Expression of PADI4 was investigated in various tumors and non-tumor tissues (n = 1673) as well as in A549, SKOV3 and U937 tumor cell lines by immunohistochemistry, real-time PCR, and western blot. Levels of PADI4 and citrullinated antithrombin (cAT) were investigated in the blood of patients with various tumors by ELISA (n = 1121).
Immunohistochemistry detected significant PADI4 expression in various malignancies including breast carcinomas, lung adenocarcinomas, hepatocellular carcinomas, esophageal squamous cancer cells, colorectal adenocarcinomas, renal cancer cells, ovarian adenocarcinomas, endometrial carcinomas, uterine adenocarcinomas, bladder carcinomas, chondromas, as well as other metastatic carcinomas. However, PADI4 expression was not observed in benign leiomyomas of stomach, uterine myomas, endometrial hyperplasias, cervical polyps, teratomas, hydatidiform moles, trophoblastic cell hyperplasias, hyroid adenomas, hemangiomas, lymph hyperplasias, schwannomas, neurofibromas, lipomas, and cavernous hemangiomas of the liver. Additionally, PADI4 expression was not detected in non-tumor tissues including cholecystitis, cervicitis and synovitis of osteoarthritis, except in certain acutely inflamed tissues such as in gastritis and appendicitis. Quantitative PCR and western blot analysis showed higher PADI4 expression in gastric adenocarcinomas, lung adenocarcinomas, hepatocellular carcinomas, esophageal squamous cell cancers and breast cancers (n = 5 for each disease) than in the surrounding healthy tissues. Furthermore, western blot analysis detected PADI4 expression in cultured tumor cell lines. ELISA detected increased PADI4 and cAT levels in the blood of patients with various malignant tumors compared to those in patients with chronic inflammation and benign tumors. This was consistent with immunohistochemical results. Additionally, PADI4 and cAT levels were significantly associated with higher levels of known tumor markers.
Our results suggest that PADI4 expression is increased in the blood and tissues of many malignant tumors, a finding useful for further understanding of tumorigenesis.