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Biochem J. 2006 May 1;395(3):563-70.

Yeast Hsl7 (histone synthetic lethal 7) catalyses the in vitro formation of omega-N(G)-monomethylarginine in calf thymus histone H2A.

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  • 1The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Molecular Biology Institute, UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles), Los Angeles, CA 90095-1569, USA.


The HSL7 (histone synthetic lethal 7) gene in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae encodes a protein with close sequence similarity to the mammalian PRMT5 protein, a member of the class of protein arginine methyltransferases that catalyses the formation of omega-N(G)-monomethylarginine and symmetric omega-N(G),N'(G)-dimethylarginine residues in a number of methyl-accepting species. A full-length HSL7 construct was expressed as a FLAG-tagged protein in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We found that FLAG-tagged Hsl7 effectively catalyses the transfer of methyl groups from S-adenosyl-[methyl-3H]-L-methionine to calf thymus histone H2A. When the acid-hydrolysed radiolabelled protein products were separated by high-resolution cation-exchange chromatography, we were able to detect one tritiated species that co-migrated with an omega-N(G)-monomethylarginine standard. No radioactivity was observed that co-migrated with either the asymmetric or symmetric dimethylated derivatives. In control experiments, no methylation of histone H2A was found with two mutant constructs of Hsl7. Surprisingly, FLAG-Hsl7 does not appear to effectively catalyse the in vitro methylation of a GST (glutathione S-transferase)-GAR [glycine- and arginine-rich human fibrillarin-(1-148) peptide] fusion protein or bovine brain myelin basic protein, both good methyl-accepting substrates for the human homologue PRMT5. Additionally, FLAG-Hsl7 demonstrates no activity on purified calf thymus histones H1, H2B, H3 or H4. GST-Rmt1, the GST-fusion protein of the major yeast protein arginine methyltransferase, was also found to methylate calf thymus histone H2A. Although we detected Rmt1-dependent arginine methylation in vivo in purified yeast histones H2A, H2B, H3 and H4, we found no evidence for Hsl7-dependent methylation of endogenous yeast histones. The physiological substrates of the Hsl7 enzyme remain to be identified.

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