Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Chemistry and Biochemistry

Committee Chair(s)

Joan M. Hevel


Joan M. Hevel


Scott A. Ensign


Sean J. Johnson


Robert Brown


Brett A. Adams


Protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) are enzymes that catalyze the methylation of protein arginine residues, resulting in the formation of monomethylarginine, and/or asymmetric or symmetric dimethylarginines. Although understanding of the PRMTs has grown rapidly over the last few years, several challenges still remain in the PRMT field. Here, we describe the development of two techniques that will be very useful in investigating PRMT regulation, small molecule inhibition, oligomerization, protein-protein interaction, and substrate specificity, which will ultimately lead to the advancement of the PRMT field. Studies have shown that having an N-terminal tag can influence enzyme activity and substrate specificity. The first protocol tackles this problem by developing a way to obtain active untagged recombinant PRMT proteins. The second protocol describes a fast and efficient method for quantitative measurement of AdoMet-dependent methyltranseferase activity with protein substrates. In addition to being very sensitive, this method decreases the processing time for the analysis of PRMT activity to a few minutes compared to weeks by traditional methods, and generates 3000-fold less radioactive waste. We then used these methods to investigate the effect of truncating the NT of human PRMT1 variant 1 (hPRMT1-V1) on enzyme activity, protein-protein interactions, and substrate specificity. Our studies show that the NT of hPRMT1-V1 influences enzymatic activity and protein-protein interactions. In particular, methylation of a variety of protein substrates was more efficient when the first 10 amino acids of hPRMT1v1 were removed, suggesting an autoinhibitory role for this small section of the N-terminus. Likewise, as portions of the NT were removed, the altered hPRMT1v1 constructs were able to interact with more proteins. Overall, my studies suggest the the sequence and length of the NT of hPRMT1v1 is capable of enforcing specific protein interactions.




This work made publicly available electronically on April 6, 2011.

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