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Highly Accessed Editorial

Knotting the NETs: Analyzing histone modifications in neutrophil extracellular traps

Indira Neeli and Marko Radic*

Author affiliations

Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Biochemistry, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, 858 Madison Avenue, Memphis, TN 38163, USA

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Citation and License

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2012, 14:115  doi:10.1186/ar3773


See related research by Liu et al., http://arthritis-research.com/content/14/1/R25

Published: 6 April 2012

Abstract

Neutrophil extracellular chromatin traps (NETs) are a recently described mechanism of innate immune responses to bacteria and fungi. Evidence indicates that NETs are induced by inflammation, that they contribute to diverse disease pathologies, and that they associate with bactericidal substances. Genomic DNA is released in NETs, leading to a cell death that has been labeled NETosis. Although NETosis clearly differs from apoptosis, the classical form of cell death, recent experiments indicate a connection between NETosis and autophagy. The regulated deployment of NETs may require covalent modification of histones, the basic DNA-binding proteins that organize chromatin in the cell's nucleus and within NETs. Histone modification by peptidylarginine deiminase 4 (PAD4) is necessary for NET release. The functions of additional histone modifications, however, remain to be tested.