Protein arginine methyltransferases

Protein Arginine Methyltransferases: Unlocking the Mysteries of Protein Methylation

Proteins are the building blocks of our bodies and play a crucial role in almost every biological process. They are responsible for maintaining the structure and function of cells, tissues, and organs. One key aspect of protein regulation is post-translational modification, which involves the addition or removal of chemical groups to the protein structure. Protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) are an important group of enzymes that play a significant role in protein methylation, a post-translational modification that has recently gained attention in the field of molecular biology.

Key Points:

1. Definition and Function of Protein Arginine Methyltransferases

Protein arginine methyltransferases are a diverse group of enzymes that catalyze the transfer of a methyl group from S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) to arginine residues in target proteins. This methylation process alters the function and structure of the targeted protein, enabling it to perform various cellular functions. PRMTs are responsible for the methylation of a vast number of cellular substrates including histones, transcription factors, RNA-binding proteins, and signaling molecules.

2. PRMT Subtypes and Methylation Pattern

PRMTs can be classified into three major subtypes based on the type of methylation they catalyze. Type I PRMTs catalyze the formation of asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), type II PRMTs catalyze the formation of symmetric dimethylarginine (SDMA), while type III PRMTs catalyze the formation of monomethylarginine. The methylation pattern and intensity depend on the specific PRMT subtype present in the cell, as well as the target protein and its cellular context.

3. Roles of PRMTs in Cellular Processes

Protein methylation by PRMTs has been shown to have diverse effects on cellular processes. For example, PRMTs play a critical role in gene expression regulation by modulating the activity of transcription factors and chromatin modifiers. They also impact RNA metabolism and processing, protein-protein interactions, and signal transduction pathways. Dysfunction or dysregulation of PRMTs has been associated with various diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegenerative disorders.

4. Therapeutic Implications of PRMTs

Given the importance of PRMTs in cellular processes and disease development, these enzymes have emerged as potential targets for therapeutic interventions. Inhibiting or modulating the enzymatic activity of PRMTs offers a promising strategy to selectively target cancer cells, for instance. Researchers are actively investigating small molecule inhibitors and developing therapeutic strategies aimed at modulating PRMT activity to improve patient outcomes in various diseases.


Protein arginine methyltransferases represent a fascinating class of enzymes that regulate protein function through post-translational modification. Their ability to modulate cellular processes through protein methylation underscores their importance in various physiological and pathological conditions. Further understanding the mechanisms underlying PRMT activity and the development of targeted therapeutics holds great potential in advancing our knowledge and treatment options for a wide range of human diseases.