Role of PRMTs in cancer: Could minor isoforms be leaving a mark?

World J Biol Chem. 2014 May 26;5(2):115-29. doi: 10.4331/wjbc.v5.i2.115.


Protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) catalyze the methylation of a variety of protein substrates, many of which have been linked to the development, progression and aggressiveness of different types of cancer. Moreover, aberrant expression of PRMTs has been observed in several cancer types. While the link between PRMTs and cancer is a relatively new area of interest, the functional implications documented thus far warrant further investigations into its therapeutic potential. However, the expression of these enzymes and the regulation of their activity in cancer are still significantly understudied. Currently there are nine main members of the PRMT family. Further, the existence of alternatively spliced isoforms for several of these family members provides an additional layer of complexity. Specifically, PRMT1, PRMT2, CARM1 and PRMT7 have been shown to have alternative isoforms and others may be currently unrealized. Our knowledge with respect to the relative expression and the specific functions of these isoforms is largely lacking and needs attention. Here we present a review of the current knowledge of the known alternative PRMT isoforms and provide a rationale for how they may impact on cancer and represent potentially useful targets for the development of novel therapeutic strategies.

Keywords: Arginine methylation; Cancer, Alternative splicing; Isoforms; Protein arginine methyltransferase.

Publication types

  • Review