Role of Peptidylarginine Deiminase 4 in Neutrophil Extracellular Trap Formation and Host Defense during Klebsiella pneumoniae- Induced Pneumonia-Derived Sepsis

J Immunol. 2018 Aug 15;201(4):1241-1252. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1800314. Epub 2018 Jul 9.


Peptidylarginine deiminase 4 (PAD4) catalyzes citrullination of histones, an important step for neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation. We aimed to determine the role of PAD4 during pneumonia. Markers of NET formation were measured in lavage fluid from airways of critically ill patients. NET formation and host defense were studied during pneumonia-derived sepsis caused by Klebsiella pneumoniae in PAD4+/+ and PAD4-/- mice. Patients with pneumosepsis, compared with those with nonpulmonary disease, showed increased citrullinated histone 3 (CitH3) levels in their airways and a trend toward elevated levels of NET markers cell-free DNA and nucleosomes. During murine pneumosepsis, CitH3 levels were increased in the lungs of PAD4+/+ but not of PAD4-/- mice. Combined light and electron microscopy showed NET-like structures surrounding Klebsiella in areas of CitH3 staining in the lung; however, these were also seen in PAD4-/- mice with absent CitH3 lung staining. Moreover, cell-free DNA and nucleosome levels were mostly similar in both groups. Moreover, Klebsiella and LPS could still induce NETosis in PAD4-/- neutrophils. Both groups showed largely similar bacterial growth, lung inflammation, and organ injury. In conclusion, these data argue against a major role for PAD4 in NET formation, host defense, or organ injury during pneumonia-derived sepsis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Extracellular Traps / enzymology
  • Extracellular Traps / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Klebsiella Infections / enzymology
  • Klebsiella Infections / immunology*
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Protein-Arginine Deiminase Type 4
  • Protein-Arginine Deiminases / immunology*
  • Sepsis / enzymology
  • Sepsis / immunology*


  • PADI4 protein, human
  • Protein-Arginine Deiminase Type 4
  • Protein-Arginine Deiminases
  • peptidylarginine deiminase 4, mouse