In filamentous fungi, arginine methylation has been implicated in morphogenesis, mycotoxin biosynthesis, pathogenicity, and stress response although the exact role of this posttranslational modification in these processes remains obscure. Here, we present the first genome-wide transcriptome analysis in filamentous fungi that compared expression levels of genes regulated by type I and type II protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs). In Aspergillus nidulans, three conserved type I and II PRMTs are present that catalyze asymmetric or symmetric dimethylation of arginines. We generated a double type I mutant (ΔrmtA/rmtB) and a combined type I and type II mutant (ΔrmtB/rmtC) to perform genome-wide comparison of their effects on gene expression, but also to monitor putative overlapping activities and reciprocal regulations of type I and type II PRMTs in Aspergillus. Our study demonstrates, that rmtA and rmtC as type I and type II representatives act together as repressors of proteins that are secreted into the extracellular region as the majority of up-regulated genes are mainly involved in catabolic pathways that constitute the secretome of Aspergillus. In addition to a strong up-regulation of secretory genes we found a significant enrichment of down-regulated genes involved in processes related to oxidation-reduction, transmembrane transport and secondary metabolite biosynthesis. Strikingly, nearly 50% of down-regulated genes in both double mutants correspond to redox reaction/oxidoreductase processes, a remarkable finding in light of our recently observed oxidative stress phenotypes of ΔrmtA and ΔrmtC. Finally, analysis of nuclear and cytoplasmic extracts for mono-methylated proteins revealed the presence of both, common and specific substrates of RmtA and RmtC. Thus, our data indicate that type I and II PRMTs in Aspergillus seem to co-regulate the same biological processes but also specifically affect other pathways in a non-redundant fashion.
Keywords: Aspergillus nidulans; Filamentous fungi; Posttranslational modifications; Protein arginine methyltransferase; Protein methylation.
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