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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2002 Aug 19;1591(1-3):1-10.

Identification of methylated proteins by protein arginine N-methyltransferase 1, PRMT1, with a new expression cloning strategy.

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Department of Functional Genomics, Medical Research Institute, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 1-5-45 Yushima, Bunkyo, Tokyo 113-8510, Japan.


Methylation at arginines has recently come to attention as a posttranslational modification of proteins, which is implicated in processes from signaling, transcriptional activation, to mRNA processing. Here we report that several proteins extracted from HeLa cells were methylated by PRMT1 (protein arginine N-methyltransferease 1) even on a nitrocellulose membrane, while proteins from Escherichia coli are not methylated with this protein. Screening PRMT1 substrates from a lambdagt11-HeLa cDNA library, we found that more than half of the 48 cDNA clones obtained encode putative RNA-binding proteins that have RGG (arginine-glycine-glycine) motifs, such as hnRNP R (heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein R) and hnRNP K. We cloned two novel arginine methylation substrates, ZF5 (zinc finger 5) and p137GPI (GPI-anchor protein p137), which do not possess typical RGG motifs. We also cloned a novel protein that has RGG motifs, but does not have any other RNA-binding motifs. We tentatively termed this clone SAMT1 (substrate of arginine methyl transferase 1). A(63-)VLD(-65) to AAA mutation of PRMT1 suppressed the methylation of recombinant SAMT1 and other RGG proteins in the HeLa extracts. This systematic screening of substrate proteins with the solid phase methylation reaction will contribute to identify new roles of PRMT family.

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