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Journal of Immunology Research
Volume 2015, Article ID 712490, 10 pages
Review Article

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

Reumatologia, Dipartimento di Medicina Interna e Specialità Mediche, Sapienza Università di Roma, Italy

Received 22 September 2014; Revised 16 January 2015; Accepted 5 February 2015

Academic Editor: David Kaplan

Copyright © 2015 Andrea Mastrangelo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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.