The peptidylarginine deiminases (PADs) are a family of calcium-dependent enzymes that post-translationally convert positively charged arginine residues to neutrally charged citrulline in a process called citrullination. There are five PAD family members (PAD1-4 and 6), each with unique tissue distribution patterns and functional roles including: cellular differentiation, nerve growth, apoptosis, inflammation, gene regulation, and early embryonic development. Previous review articles have focused on the expression and function of PADs and on their catalytic activity, citrullination, while other, more recent reviews have addressed the role of these enzymes in disease [1-3]. What has not been previously reviewed in any level of detail is the role that PAD proteins play in female reproduction. Given that: (1) PAD family members are highly represented in female reproductive tissues, (2) that some of the earlier PAD literature suggests that PADs play a critical role in female reproduction, and (3) that our studies have demonstrated that oocyte and early embryo restricted PAD6 is essential for female reproduction, we felt that a more comprehensive review of this topic was warranted.
2012 Society for Reproduction and Development