Epigenetic control via allosteric regulation of mammalian protein arginine methyltransferases [Biochemistry]
Arginine methylation on histones is a central player in epigenetics and in gene activation and repression. Protein arginine methyltransferase (PRMT) activity has been implicated in stem cell pluripotency, cancer metastasis, and tumorigenesis. The expression of one of the nine mammalian PRMTs, PRMT5, affects the levels of symmetric dimethylarginine (SDMA) at Arg-3 on histone H4, leading to the repression of genes which are related to disease progression in lymphoma and leukemia. Another PRMT, PRMT7, also affects SDMA levels at the same site despite its unique monomethylating activity and the lack of any evidence for PRMT7-catalyzed histone H4 Arg-3 methylation. We present evidence that PRMT7-mediated monomethylation of histone H4 Arg-17 regulates PRMT5 activity at Arg-3 in the same protein. We analyzed the kinetics of PRMT5 over a wide range of substrate concentrations. Significantly, we discovered that PRMT5 displays positive cooperativity in vitro, suggesting that this enzyme may be allosterically regulated in vivo as well. Most interestingly, monomethylation at Arg-17 in histone H4 not only raised the general activity of PRMT5 with this substrate, but also ameliorated the low activity of PRMT5 at low substrate concentrations. These kinetic studies suggest a biochemical explanation for the interplay between PRMT5- and PRMT7-mediated methylation of the same substrate at different residues and also suggest a general model for regulation of PRMTs. Elucidating the exact relationship between these two enzymes when they methylate two distinct sites of the same substrate may aid in developing therapeutics aimed at reducing PRMT5/7 activity in cancer and other diseases.
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