Histone citrullination by protein arginine deiminase: is arginine methylation a green light or a roadblock?

ACS Chem Biol. 2006 Aug 22;1(7):433-41. doi: 10.1021/cb6002306.


Protein citrullination, a once-obscure post-translational modification (PTM) of peptidylarginine, has recently become an area of significant interest because of its suspected role in human disease states, including rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, and also because of its newfound role in gene regulation. One protein isozyme responsible for this modification, protein arginine deiminase 4 (PAD4), has also been proposed to "reverse" epigenetic histone modifications made by the protein arginine methyltransferases. Here, we review the in vivo and in vitro studies of transcriptional regulation by PAD4, evaluate conflicting evidence for its ability to use methylated peptidylarginine as a substrate, and highlight promising areas of future work. Understanding the interplay of multiple arginine PTMs is an emerging area of importance in health and disease and is a topic best addressed by novel tools in proteomics and chemical biology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arginine / chemistry*
  • Chemistry / methods
  • Citrulline / chemistry*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic*
  • Histones / chemistry*
  • Hydrolases / chemistry*
  • Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Methylation
  • Models, Chemical
  • Models, Molecular
  • Multigene Family
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Protein-Arginine Deiminases
  • Proteomics / methods


  • Histones
  • Citrulline
  • Arginine
  • Hydrolases
  • Protein-Arginine Deiminases