The Role of Posttranslational Protein Modifications in Rheumatological Diseases: Focus on Rheumatoid Arthritis

J Immunol Res. 2015:2015:712490. doi: 10.1155/2015/712490. Epub 2015 May 18.


The definition of posttranslational modification (PTM) encompasses a wide group of chemical reactions that allow modification and modulation of protein functions. The regulation of PTMs is crucial for the activity and survival of the cells. Dysregulation of PTMs has been observed in several pathological conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA is a systemic autoimmune disease primarily targeting the joints. The three PTMs mainly involved in this disease are glycosylation, citrullination, and carbamylation. Glycosylation is essential for antigen processing and presentation and can modulate immunoglobulin activity. Citrullination of self-antigens is strongly associated with RA, as demonstrated by the presence of antibodies directed to anti-citrullinated proteins in patients' sera. Carbamylation and its dysregulation have been recently associated with RA. Aim of this review is to illustrate the most significant alterations of these PTMs in RA and to evaluate their possible involvement in the pathogenesis of the disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / immunology
  • Antigens / immunology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology*
  • Glycosylation
  • Humans
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational / immunology*


  • Antibodies
  • Antigens