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J Biol Chem. 2004 May 28;279(22):22795-8. Epub 2004 Apr 14.

Arginine methylation of RNA helicase a determines its subcellular localization.

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Division of Biological Sciences and University of California, San Diego Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, 92093-0322, USA.


RNA helicase A (RHA) undergoes nuclear translocation via a classical import mechanism utilizing karyopherin beta. The nuclear transport domain (NTD) of RHA is known to be necessary and sufficient for its bi-directional nuclear trafficking. We report here that arginine methylation is a novel requirement for NTD-mediated nuclear import. Nuclear translocation of glutathione S-transferase (GST)-NTD fusion proteins is abrogated by arginine-methylation inhibitors. However, in vitro arginine-methylation of GST-NTD prior to injection allows the fusion protein to localize to the nucleus in the presence of methylation inhibitors. Removal of the arginine-rich C-terminal region negates the effects of the methylation inhibitors on NTD import, suggesting that methylation of the NTD C terminus the relieves the cytoplasmic retention of RHA. The NTD physically interacts with PRMT1, the major protein arginine methyltransferase. These findings provide evidence for a novel arginine methylation-dependent regulatory pathway controlling the nuclear import of RHA.

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