Tissue-dependent subcellular localization of Drosophila arginine methyl-transferase 4 (DART4), a coactivator whose overexpression affects neither viability nor differentiation

Differentiation. 2007 Oct;75(8):757-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-0436.2007.00175.x. Epub 2007 Apr 25.


Drosophila arginine methyl-transferase 4 (DART4) belongs to the type I class of arginine methyltransferases. It catalyzes the methylation of arginine residues to monomethylarginines and asymmetrical dimethylarginines. The DART4 sequence is highly similar to mammalian PRMT4/CARM1, and DART4 substrate specificity has been conserved, too. Recently it was suggested that DART4/Carmer functions in ecdysone receptor mediated apoptosis of the polytene larval salivary glands and an apparent up-regulation of DART4/Carmer mRNA levels before tissue histolysis was reported. Here we show that in Drosophila larvae, DART4 is mainly expressed in the imaginal disks and in larval brains, and to a much lesser degree in the polytene larval tissue such as salivary glands. In glands, DART4 protein is present in the cytoplasm and the nucleus. The nuclear signal emanates from the extrachromosomal domain and gets progressively restricted to the region of the nuclear lamina upon pupariation. Surprisingly, DART4 levels do not increase in salivary glands during pupariation, and overexpression of DART4 does not cause precautious cell death in the glands. Furthermore, over- and misexpression of DART4 under the control of the alpha tubulin promoter do not lead to any major problem in the life of a fly. This suggests that DART4 activity is regulated at the posttranslational level and/or that it acts as a true cofactor in vivo. We present evidence that nuclear localization of DART4 may contribute to its function because DART4 accumulation changes from a distribution with a strong cytoplasmic component during the transcriptional quiescence of the young embryo to a predominantly nuclear one at the onset of zygotic transcription.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cell Survival / physiology
  • Drosophila Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / cytology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / enzymology*
  • Larva / enzymology
  • Methyltransferases / biosynthesis
  • Methyltransferases / genetics
  • Methyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Organ Specificity / physiology
  • Pupa / enzymology
  • Subcellular Fractions / metabolism


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Art4 protein, Drosophila
  • Methyltransferases