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J Biol Chem. 1998 Nov 6;273(45):29283-6.

delta-N-methylarginine is a novel posttranslational modification of arginine residues in yeast proteins.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Molecular Biology Institute, UCLA, Los Angeles, California 90095-1569, USA.


We have found a novel modification of protein arginine residues in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Intact yeast cells lacking RMT1, the gene encoding the protein omega-NG-arginine methyltransferase, were labeled with the methyl donor S-adenosyl-L-[methyl-3H]methionine. The protein fraction was acid-hydrolyzed to free amino acids, which were then fractionated on a high resolution sulfonated polystyrene cation exchange column at pH 5.27 and 55 degreesC. In the absence of the omega-NG, NG-[3H]dimethylarginine product of the RMT1 methyltransferase, we were able to detect a previously obscured 3H-methylated species that migrated in the region of methylated arginine derivatives. The [3H]methyl group(s) of this unknown species were not volatilized by treatment with 2 M NaOH at 55 degreesC for up to 48 h, suggesting that they were not modifications of the terminal omega-guanidino nitrogen atoms. However, this base treatment did result in the formation of a new 3H-methylated derivative that co-chromatographed with delta-N-methylornithine on high resolution cation exchange chromatography, on reverse phase high pressure liquid chromatography, and on thin layer chromatography. From these data, we suggest that the identity of the original unknown methylated residue is delta-N-monomethylarginine. The presence of this methylated residue in yeast cells defines a novel type of protein modification reaction in eukaryotes.

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