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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Apr 12;108(15):6085-90. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1015328108. Epub 2011 Mar 28.

Arginine methylation of BCL-2 antagonist of cell death (BAD) counteracts its phosphorylation and inactivation by Akt.

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  • 1Life Science Center of Tsukuba Advanced Research Alliance, Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8577, Japan.


Protein arginine methylation is a common posttranslational modification catalyzed by a family of the protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs). We have previously reported that PRMT1 methylates Forkhead box O transcription factors at two arginine residues within an Akt consensus phosphorylation motif (RxRxxS/T), and that this methylation blocks Akt-mediated phosphorylation of the transcription factors. These findings led us to hypothesize that the functional crosstalk between arginine methylation and phosphorylation could be extended to other Akt target proteins as well as Forkhead box O proteins. Here we identify BCL-2 antagonist of cell death (BAD) as an additional substrate for PRMT1 among several Akt target proteins. We show that PRMT1 specifically binds and methylates BAD at Arg-94 and Arg-96, both of which comprise the Akt consensus phosphorylation motif. Consistent with the hypothesis, PRMT1-mediated methylation of these two arginine residues inhibits Akt-mediated phosphorylation of BAD at Ser-99 in vitro and in vivo. We also demonstrate that the complex formation of BAD with 14-3-3 proteins, which occurs subsequent to Akt-mediated phosphorylation, is negatively regulated by PRMT1. Furthermore, PRMT1 knockdown prevents mitochondrial localization of BAD and its binding to the antiapoptotic BCL-X(L) protein. BAD overexpression causes an increase in apoptosis with concomitant activation of caspase-3, whereas PRMT1 knockdown significantly suppresses these apoptotic processes. Taken together, our results add a new dimension to the complexity of posttranslational BAD regulation and provide evidence that arginine methylation within an Akt consensus phosphorylation motif functions as an inhibitory modification against Akt-dependent survival signaling.

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