Protein arginine methyltransferases: promising targets for cancer therapy.
ABSTRACT: Protein methylation, a post-translational modification (PTM), is observed in a wide variety of cell types from prokaryotes to eukaryotes. With recent and rapid advancements in epigenetic research, the importance of protein methylation has been highlighted. The methylation of histone proteins that contributes to the epigenetic histone code is not only dynamic but is also finely controlled by histone methyltransferases and demethylases, which are essential for the transcriptional regulation of genes. In addition, many nonhistone proteins are methylated, and these modifications govern a variety of cellular functions, including RNA processing, translation, signal transduction, DNA damage response, and the cell cycle. Recently, the importance of protein arginine methylation, especially in cell cycle regulation and DNA repair processes, has been noted. Since the dysregulation of protein arginine methylation is closely associated with cancer development, protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) have garnered significant interest as novel targets for anticancer drug development. Indeed, several PRMT inhibitors are in phase 1/2 clinical trials. In this review, we discuss the biological functions of PRMTs in cancer and the current development status of PRMT inhibitors in cancer therapy.
Project description:Histone methylation plays an important regulatory role in chromatin restructuring and RNA transcription. Arginine methylation that is enzymatically catalyzed by the family of protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) can either activate or repress gene expression depending on cellular contexts. Given the strong correlation of PRMTs with pathophysiology, great interest is seen in understanding molecular mechanisms of PRMTs in diseases and in developing potent PRMT inhibitors. Herein, we reviewed key research advances in the study of biochemical mechanisms of PRMT catalysis and their relevance to cell biology. We highlighted how a random binary, ordered ternary kinetic model for PRMT1 catalysis reconciles the literature reports and endorses a distributive mechanism that the enzyme active site utilizes for multiple turnovers of arginine methylation. We discussed the impacts of histone arginine methylation and its biochemical interplays with other key epigenetic marks. Challenges in developing small-molecule PRMT inhibitors were also discussed.
Project description:Protein arginine methylation is a common post-translational modification that plays a pivotal role in cellular regulation. Protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) catalyze the modification of target proteins by adding methyl groups to the guanidino nitrogen atoms of arginine residues. Protein arginine methylation takes part in epigenetic and cellular regulation and has been linked to neurodegenerative diseases, metabolic diseases, and tumor progression. Aberrant expression of PRMTs is associated with the development of brain tumors such as glioblastoma and medulloblastoma. Identifying PRMTs as plausible contributors to tumorigenesis has led to preclinical and clinical investigations of PRMT inhibitors for glioblastoma and medulloblastoma therapy. In this review, we discuss the role of arginine methylation in cancer biology and provide an update on the use of small molecule inhibitors of PRMTs to treat glioblastoma, medulloblastoma, and other cancers.
Project description:Protein arginine methyltransferase (PRMT) enzymes play a crucial role in RNA splicing, DNA damage repair, cell signaling, and differentiation. Arginine methylation is a prominent posttransitional modification of histones and various non-histone proteins that can either activate or repress gene expression. The aberrant expression of PRMTs has been linked to multiple abnormalities, notably cancer. Herein, we review a number of non-histone protein substrates for all nine members of human PRMTs and how PRMT-mediated non-histone arginine methylation modulates various diseases. Additionally, we highlight the most recent clinical studies for several PRMT inhibitors.
Project description:Protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMT) are generally not mutated in diseased states, but they are overexpressed in a number of cancers, including breast cancer. To address the possible roles of PRMT overexpression in mammary gland tumorigenesis, we generated Cre-activated PRMT1, CARM1, and PRMT6 overexpression mouse models. These three enzymes are the primary type I PRMTs and are responsible for the majority of the asymmetric arginine methylation deposited in the cells. Using either a keratin 5-Cre recombinase (K5-Cre) cross or an MMTV-NIC mouse, we investigated the impact of PRMT overexpression alone or in the context of a HER2-driven model of breast cancer, respectively. The overexpression of all three PRMTs induced hyper-branching of the mammary glands and increased Ki-67 staining. When combined with the MMTV-NIC model, these in vivo experiments provided the first genetic evidence implicating elevated levels of these three PRMTs in mammary gland tumorigenesis, albeit with variable degrees of tumor promotion and latency. In addition, these mouse models provided valuable tools for exploring the biological roles and molecular mechanisms of PRMT overexpression in the mammary gland. For example, transcriptome analysis of purified mammary epithelial cells isolated from bigenic NIC-PRMT1 Tg and NIC-PRMT6 Tg mice revealed a deregulated PI3K-AKT pathway. In the future, these PRMT Tg lines can be leveraged to investigate the roles of arginine methylation in other tissues and tumor model systems using different tissue-specific Cre crosses, and they can also be used for testing the in vivo efficacy of small molecule inhibitors that target these PRMT. SIGNIFICANCE: These findings establish Cre-activated mouse models of three different arginine methyltransferases, PRMT1, CARM1, and PRMT6, which are overexpressed in human cancers, providing a valuable tool for the study of PRMT function in tumorigenesis.See related commentary by Watson and Bitler, p. 3.
Project description:Despite intense research efforts, our pharmaceutical repertoire against high-grade brain tumours has not been able to increase patient survival for a decade and life expectancy remains at less than 16 months after diagnosis, on average. Inhibitors of protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) have been developed and investigated over the past 15 years and have now entered oncology clinical trials, including for brain tumours. This review collates recent advances in the understanding of the role of PRMTs and arginine methylation in brain tumours. We provide an up-to-date literature review on the mechanisms for PRMT regulation. These include endogenous modulators such as alternative splicing, miRNA, post-translational modifications and PRMT-protein interactions, and synthetic inhibitors. We discuss the relevance of PRMTs in brain tumours with a particular focus on PRMT1, -2, -5 and -8. Finally, we include a future perspective where we discuss possible routes for further research on arginine methylation and on the use of PRMT inhibitors in the context of brain tumours.
Project description:Protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) are crucial epigenetic regulators in eukaryotic organisms that serve as histone writers for chromatin remodeling. PRMTs also methylate a variety of non-histone protein substrates to modulate their function and activity. The development of potent PRMT inhibitors has become an emerging and imperative research area in the drug discovery field to provide novel therapeutic agents for treating diseases and as tools to investigate the biological functions of PRMTs. PRMT1 is the major type I enzyme that catalyzes the formation of asymmetric dimethyl arginine, and PRMT1 plays important regulatory roles in signal transduction, transcriptional activation, RNA splicing, and DNA repair. Aberrant expression of PRMT1 is found in many types of cancers, pulmonary diseases, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and renal diseases. PRMT1 is a highly promising target for therapeutic development. We created a stopped flow fluorescence-based assay for PRMT1 inhibitor detection and characterization that has the advantages of being homogeneous, nonradioactive, and mix-and-measure in nature, allowing for continuous measurement of the methylation reaction and its inhibition. To our knowledge, this is the first continuous assay for PRMT1 reaction detection and inhibitor characterization. The approach is not only capable of quantitatively determining the potency (IC50) of PRMT1 inhibitors but can also distinguish cofactor-competitive inhibitors, substrate-competitive inhibitors, and mixed-type inhibitors.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Arginine methylation is an abundant posttranslational modification occurring in mammalian cells and catalyzed by protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs). Misregulation and aberrant expression of PRMTs are associated with various disease states, notably cancer. PRMTs are prominent therapeutic targets in drug discovery. AREAS COVERED:The authors provide an updated review of the research on the development of chemical modulators for PRMTs. Great efforts are seen in screening and designing potent and selective PRMT inhibitors, and a number of micromolar and submicromolar inhibitors have been obtained for key PRMT enzymes such as PRMT1, CARM1, and PRMT5. The authors provide a focus on their chemical structures, mechanism of action, and pharmacological activities. Pros and cons of each type of inhibitors are also discussed. EXPERT OPINION:Several key challenging issues exist in PRMT inhibitor discovery. Structural mechanisms of many PRMT inhibitors remain unclear. There lacks consistency in potency data due to divergence of assay methods and conditions. Physiologically relevant cellular assays are warranted. Substantial engagements are needed to investigate pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of the new PRMT inhibitors in pertinent disease models. Discovery and evaluation of potent, isoform-selective, cell-permeable and in vivo-active PRMT modulators will continue to be an active arena of research in years ahead.
Project description:Protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) are the enzymes responsible for posttranslational methylation of protein arginine residues in eukaryotic cells, particularly within the histone tails. A detailed mechanistic model of PRMT-catalyzed methylation is currently lacking, but it is essential for understanding the functions of PRMTs in various cellular pathways and for efficient design of PRMT inhibitors as potential treatments for a range of human diseases. In this work, we used stopped-flow fluorescence in combination with global kinetic simulation to dissect the transient kinetics of PRMT1, the predominant type I arginine methyltransferase. Several important mechanistic insights were revealed. The cofactor and the peptide substrate bound to PRMT1 in a random manner and then followed a kinetically preferred pathway to generate the catalytic enzyme-cofactor-substrate ternary complex. Product release proceeded in an ordered fashion, with peptide dissociation followed by release of the byproduct S-adenosylhomocysteine. Importantly, the dissociation rate of the monomethylated intermediate from the ternary complex was much faster than the methyl transfer. Such a result provided direct evidence for distributive arginine dimethylation, which means the monomethylated substrate has to be released to solution and rebind with PRMT1 before it undergoes further methylation. In addition, cofactor binding involved a conformational transition, likely an open-to-closed conversion of the active site pocket. Further, the histone H4 peptide bound to the two active sites of the PRMT1 homodimer with differential affinities, suggesting a negative cooperativity mechanism of substrate binding. These findings provide a new mechanistic understanding of how PRMTs interact with their substrates and transfer methyl groups.
Project description:The role of arginine methylation in Drosophila melanogaster is unknown. We identified a family of nine PRMTs (protein arginine methyltransferases) by sequence homology with mammalian arginine methyltransferases, which we have named DART1 to DART9 ( Drosophila arginine methyltransferases 1-9). In keeping with the mammalian PRMT nomenclature, DART1, DART4, DART5 and DART7 are the putative homologues of PRMT1, PRMT4, PRMT5 and PRMT7. Other DART family members have a closer resemblance to PRMT1, but do not have identifiable homologues. All nine genes are expressed in Drosophila at various developmental stages. DART1 and DART4 have arginine methyltransferase activity towards substrates, including histones and RNA-binding proteins. Amino acid analysis of the methylated arginine residues confirmed that both DART1 and DART4 catalyse the formation of asymmetrical dimethylated arginine residues and they are type I arginine methyltransferases. The presence of PRMTs in D. melanogaster suggest that flies are a suitable genetic system to study arginine methylation.
Project description:Protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) catalyze the methyl transfer to the arginine residues of protein substrates and are classified into three major types based on the final form of the methylated arginine. Recent studies have shown a strong correlation between PRMT expression level and the prognosis of cancer patients. Currently, crystal structures of eight PRMT members have been determined. Kinetic and structural studies have shown that all PRMTs share similar, but unique catalytic and substrate recognition mechanism. In this review, we discuss the structural similarities and differences of different PRMT members, focusing on their overall structure, S-adenosyl-L-methionine-binding pocket, substrate arginine recognition and catalytic mechanisms. Since PRMTs are valuable targets for drug discovery, we also rationally classify the known PRMT inhibitors into five classes and discuss their mechanisms of action at the atomic level.