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Intricate Effects of α‑Amino and Lysine Modifications on Arginine Methylation of the N‑Terminal Tail of Histone H4

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journal contribution
posted on 23.06.2017, 00:00 by Melody D. Fulton, Jing Zhang, Maomao He, Meng-Chiao Ho, Y. George Zheng
Chemical modifications of the DNA and nucleosomal histones tightly control the gene transcription program in eukaryotic cells. The “histone code” hypothesis proposes that the frequency, combination, and location of post-translational modifications (PTMs) of the core histones compose a complex network of epigenetic regulation. Currently, there are at least 23 different types and >450 histone PTMs that have been discovered, and the PTMs of lysine and arginine residues account for a crucial part of the histone code. Although significant progress has been achieved in recent years, the molecular basis for the histone code is far from being fully understood. In this study, we investigated how naturally occurring N-terminal acetylation and PTMs of histone H4 lysine-5 (H4K5) affect arginine-3 methylation catalyzed by both type I and type II PRMTs at the biochemical level. Our studies found that acylations of H4K5 resulted in decreased levels of arginine methylation by PRMT1, PRMT3, and PRMT8. In contrast, PRMT5 exhibits an increased rate of arginine methylation upon H4K5 acetylation, propionylation, and crotonylation, but not upon H4K5 methylation, butyrylation, or 2-hydroxyisobutyrylation. Methylation of H4K5 did not affect arginine methylation by PRMT1 or PRMT5. There was a small increase in the rate of arginine methylation by PRMT8. Strikingly, a marked increase in the rate of arginine methylation was observed for PRMT3. Finally, N-terminal acetylation reduced the rate of arginine methylation by PRMT3 but had little influence on PRMT1, -5, and -8 activity. These results together highlight the underlying mechanistic differences in substrate recognition among different PRMTs and pave the way for the elucidation of the complex interplay of histone modifications.