Protein arginine methylation is a eukaryotic posttranslational modification that plays a role in transcription, mRNA splicing and transport, in protein-protein interaction, and cell signaling. The type I protein arginine methyltransferase (PRMT) 8 is the only member of the human PRMT family that is localized at the cell membrane and its endogenous substrates have remained unknown as yet. Although PRMT8 was supposed to be expressed only in brain tissue, its presence in HEK 293 (T) cells could be demonstrated. We identified more than 20 PRMT8-binding partners in pull-down experiments using recombinant PRMT8 as bait followed by mass spectrometric identification of the bound proteins. Among the extracted proteins were several heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoproteins (hnRNP), RNA-helicases (DEAD box proteins), the TET-family proteins TLS, Ewing's sarcoma (EWS), and TAF(II)68, and caprin, which all contain RGG methylation motifs and are potential substrates of PRMT8. Additionally, actin, tubulin, and heat shock proteins belong to the identified proteins. The interaction between PRMT8 and the EWS protein was characterized in more detail. Although binding of endogenous and recombinant EWS protein to PRMT8 as well as colocalization in HEK cells was observed, in vitro methylation assays revealed a rather poor methyltransferase activity of PRMT8 towards the EWS protein and a synthetic RGG-rich reference peptide (K(m), 1.3 microM; k(cat)/K(m), 2.8 x 10(-4) microM(-1) s(-1)) in comparison to PRMT1 (K(m), 0.8 microM; k(cat)/K(m), 8.1 x 10(-3) microM(-1) s(-1)). In contrast, substrate proteins within a cell extract could be methylated by PRMT8 as efficient as by PRMT1. The main interaction site of the EWS protein with PRMT8 was determined to be the C-terminal RGG box 3. Remarkably, complete methylation of the EWS protein did not abrogate the binding to PRMT8, pointing to an adapter role of PRMT8 for nuclear proteins at the cell membrane in addition to its methyltransferase activity.
2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.