The type II arginine methyltransferase PRMT5 is responsible for the symmetric dimethylation of histone to generate the H3R8me2s and H4R3me2s marks, which correlate with the repression of transcription. However, the protein level of a number of genes (MEP50, CCND1, MYC, HIF1a, MTIF and CDKN1B) are reported to be downregulated by the loss of PRMT5, while their mRNA levels remain unchanged, which is counterintuitive for PRMT5's proposed role as a transcription repressor. We noticed that the majority of the genes regulated by PRMT5, at the posttranscriptional level, express mRNA containing an internal ribosome entry site (IRES). Using an IRES-dependent reporter system, we established that PRMT5 facilitates the translation of a subset of IRES-containing genes. The heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein, hnRNP A1, is an IRES transacting factor (ITAF) that regulates the IRES-dependent translation of Cyclin D1 and c-Myc. We showed that hnRNP A1 is methylated by PRMT5 on two residues, R218 and R225, and that this methylation facilitates the interaction of hnRNP A1 with IRES RNA to promote IRES-dependent translation. This study defines a new role for PRMT5 regulation of cellular protein levels, which goes beyond the known functions of PRMT5 as a transcription and splicing regulator.
© The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.