Research Papers:

Targeting protein arginine methyltransferase 5 inhibits colorectal cancer growth by decreasing arginine methylation of eIF4E and FGFR3

Baolai Zhang, Shuhong Dong, Ruiming Zhu, Chunyan Hu, Jing Hou, Yan Li, Qian Zhao, Xue Shao, Qian Bu, Hongyu Li, Yongjie Wu, Xiaobo Cen and Yinglan Zhao _

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:22799-22811. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.4332

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Baolai Zhang1,2, Shuhong Dong2, Ruiming Zhu1, Chunyan Hu1, Jing Hou1, Yan Li1, Qian Zhao1, Xue Shao1, Qian Bu1, Hongyu Li1, Yongjie Wu2, Xiaobo Cen1 and Yinglan Zhao1

1 State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy and Cancer Center, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, and Collaborative Innovation Center for Biotherapy, Chengdu, China

2 Department of Pharmacology, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, China

Correspondence to:

Yinglan Zhao, email:

Xiaobo Cen, email:

Keywords: PRMT5, AMI-1, colorectal cancer, FGFR3, eIF4E

Received: February 04, 2015 Accepted: May 25, 2015 Published: June 02, 2015


Protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) plays critical roles in cancer. PRMT5 has been implicated in several types of tumors. However, the role of PRMT5 in cancer development remains to be fully elucidated. Here, we provide evidence that PRMT5 is overexpressed in colorectal cancer (CRC) cells and patient-derived primary tumors, correlated with increased cell growth and decreased overall patient survival. Arginine methyltransferase inhibitor 1 (AMI-1)strongly inhibited tumor growth, increased the ratio of Bax/Bcl-2, and induced apoptosis in mouse CRC xenograt model. AMI-1 also induced apoptosis and decreased the migratory activity in several CRC cells. In CRC xenografts AMI-1 significantly decreased symmetric dimethylation of histone 4 (H4R3me2s), a histone mark of type II PRMT5, but not the expression of H4R3me2a, a histone mark of type I PRMTs. These results suggest that the inhibition of PRMT5 contributes to the antitumor efficacy of AMI-1. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) identified FGFR3 and eIF4E as two key genes regulated by PRMT5. PRMT5 knockdown reduced the levels of H4R3me2s and H3R8me2s methylation on FGFR3 and eIF4E promoters, leading to decreased expressions of FGFR3 and eIF4E. Collectively, our findings provide new evidence that PRMT5 plays an important role in CRC pathogenesis through epigenetically regulating arginine methylation of oncogenes such as eIF4E and FGFR3.

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