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J Biol Chem. 2004 Apr 30;279(18):18467-71. Epub 2004 Feb 19.

An arginine-histone methyltransferase, CARMER, coordinates ecdysone-mediated apoptosis in Drosophila cells.

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Hanson Institute, IMVS, Frome Road, Adelaide 5000, Australia.


Developmentally programmed cell death is regulated by a balance between pro- and anti-death signaling. During Drosophila metamorphosis, the removal of larval tissues is dependent on the steroid hormone ecdysone, which controls the levels of pro- and anti-death molecules. Ecdysone binds to its heterodimeric receptor ecdysone receptor/ultraspiracle to mediate transcription of primary response genes. Here we show that CARMER, an arginine-histone methyltransferase, is critical in coordinating ecdysone-induced expression of Drosophila cell death genes. Ablation of CARMER blocks ecdysone-induced cell death in Drosophila cells, but not apoptosis induced by cell stress. We demonstrate that CARMER associates with the ecdysone receptor complex and modulates the ecdysone-induced transcription of a number of apoptotic genes. Thus, the chromatin-modifying protein, CARMER, modulates cell death by controlling the hormone-dependent expression of the core cell death machinery.

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