Assaying epigenome functions of PRMTs and their substrates

Methods. 2020 Mar 15;175:53-65. doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2019.09.014. Epub 2019 Sep 19.


Among the widespread and increasing number of identified post-translational modifications (PTMs), arginine methylation is catalyzed by the protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) and regulates fundamental processes in cells, such as gene regulation, RNA processing, translation, and signal transduction. As epigenetic regulators, PRMTs play key roles in pluripotency, differentiation, proliferation, survival, and apoptosis, which are essential biological programs leading to development, adult homeostasis but also pathological conditions including cancer. A full understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underlie PRMT-mediated gene regulation requires the genome wide mapping of each player, i.e., PRMTs, their substrates and epigenetic marks, methyl-marks readers as well as interaction partners, in a thorough and unambiguous manner. However, despite the tremendous advances in high throughput sequencing technologies and the numerous efforts from the scientific community, the epigenomic profiling of PRMTs as well as their histone and non-histone substrates still remains a big challenge owing to obvious limitations in tools and methodologies. This review will summarize the present knowledge about the genome wide mapping of PRMTs and their substrates as well as the technical approaches currently in use. The limitations and pitfalls of the technical tools along with conventional approaches will be then discussed in detail. Finally, potential new strategies for chromatin profiling of PRMTs and histone substrates will be proposed and described.

Keywords: Arginine methylation; ChIP; Genome wide mapping; Obstacles and alternative approaches; PRMTs; PTMs.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't