Biological methylation of myelin basic protein: enzymology and biological significance

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 1997 May;29(5):743-51. doi: 10.1016/s1357-2725(97)00009-5.


Myelin is a membrane characteristic of the nervous tissue and functions as an insulator to increase the velocity of the stimuli being transmitted between a nerve cell body and its target. Myelin isolated from human and bovine nervous tissue is composed of approximately 80% lipid and 20% protein, and 30% of the protein fraction constitutes myelin basic protein (MBP). MBP has an unusual amino acid at Res-107 as a mixture of NG-monomethylarginine and NG, N'G-dimethylarginine. The formation of these methylarginine derivatives is catalysed by one of the subtypes of protein methylase I, which specifically methylates Res-107 of this protein. Evidence is presented to demonstrate an involvement of this biological methylation in the integrity and maintenance of myelin.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / enzymology
  • Humans
  • Methylation
  • Multiple Sclerosis / metabolism
  • Myelin Basic Protein / metabolism*
  • Myelin Sheath / physiology
  • Protein-Arginine N-Methyltransferases / metabolism


  • Myelin Basic Protein
  • Protein-Arginine N-Methyltransferases