Phosphoproteome analysis of synoviocytes from patients with rheumatoid arthritis

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To explore disease-associated molecules in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), we comprehensively analyzed phosphoproteins purified from RA synoviocytes.


Synoviocytes were obtained from three patients with RA and three patients with osteoarthritis (OA). Profiles of phosphoproteins purified from the synoviocytes were compared by two-dimensional differential gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE) between the RA and OA groups. Protein spots with significantly different phosphorylation levels were identified by mass spectrometry. Recombinant protein of annexin A4 (ANXA4), one of the identified phosphoproteins, was transfected into synoviocytes from an OA patient to mimic RA synoviocytes and humoral factor secretion was compared between rANXA4-transfected and non-transfected synoviocytes under a tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα)-stimulated condition.


In 2D-DIGE, 318 phosphoprotein spots were detected, of which 94 spots showed significantly different intensities between the two groups (P < 0.05). Among the 94 spots, 22 spots showed two-fold or higher intensity and one spot showed less than 1/2-fold intensity in the RA group compared to the OA group. From the 22 spots, 11 phosphoproteins were identified, which included kinases, carrier and chaperone proteins, cytoskeletal proteins, proteases and calcium-binding proteins. One of the identified calcium-binding proteins was ANXA4, an exocytosis-regulating protein. The transfected rANXA4 was found to be phosphorylated intracellularly, and secretion of chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 1 and interleukin-8 induced by TNFα stimulation was significantly suppressed by the transfection (P < 0.01).


The phosphoprotein profile of RA synoviocytes was different from that of OA synoviocytes. This difference would reflect the different pathophysiologies of the diseases. ANXA4 may be one of therapeutic targets in RA.

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