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J Biol Chem. 2000 Oct 20;275(42):32974-82.

PRMT3 is a distinct member of the protein arginine N-methyltransferase family. Conferral of substrate specificity by a zinc-finger domain.

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Molecular Biology Institute and the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of California at Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.


S-Adenosyl-l-methionine-dependent protein arginine N-methyltransferases (PRMTs) catalyze the methylation of arginine residues within a variety of proteins. At least four distinct mammalian family members have now been described, including PRMT1, PRMT3, CARM1/PRMT4, and JBP1/PRMT5. To more fully define the physiological role of PRMT3, we characterized its unique putative zinc-finger domain and how it can affect its enzymatic activity. Here we show that PRMT3 does contain a single zinc-finger domain in its amino terminus. Although the zinc-liganded form of this domain is not required for methylation of an artificial substrate such as the glutathione S-transferase-fibrillarin amino-terminal fusion protein (GST-GAR), it is required for the enzyme to recognize RNA-associated substrates in RAT1 cell extracts. The recombinant form of PRMT3 is inhibited by high concentrations of ZnCl(2) as well as N-ethylmaleimide, reagents that can modify cysteine sulfhydryl groups. We found that we could distinguish PRMT family members by their sensitivity to these reagents; JBP1/PRMT5 and Hsl7 methyltransferases were inhibited in a similar manner as PRMT3, whereas Rmt1, PRMT1, and CARM1/PRMT4 were not affected. We were also able to define differences in these enzymes by their sensitivity to inhibition by Tris and free arginine. Finally, we found that the treatment of RAT1 cell extracts with N-ethylmaleimide leads to a loss of the major PRMT1-associated activity that was immune to inhibition under the same conditions as a GST fusion protein. These results suggest that native forms of PRMTs can have different properties than their GST-catalytic chain fusion protein counterparts, which may lack associated noncatalytic subunits.

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