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  • Arginine methylation is required for canonical Wnt signaling and endolysosomal trafficking.

Arginine methylation is required for canonical Wnt signaling and endolysosomal trafficking.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2018-05-19)
Lauren V Albrecht, Diego Ploper, Nydia Tejeda-Muñoz, Edward M De Robertis
ABSTRACT

Arginine methylation has emerged as a widespread and reversible protein modification with the potential to regulate a multitude of cellular processes, but its function is poorly understood. Endolysosomes play an important role in Wnt signaling, in which glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3) becomes sequestered inside multivesicular bodies (MVBs) by the process known as microautophagy, causing the stabilization of many proteins. Up to 20% of cellular proteins contain three or more consecutive putative GSK3 sites, and of these 33% also contain methylarginine (meArg) modifications. Intriguingly, a cytoskeletal protein was previously known to have meArg modifications that enhanced subsequent phosphorylations by GSK3. Here, we report the unexpected finding that protein arginine methyltransferase 1 (PRMT1) is required for canonical Wnt signaling. Treatment of cultured cells for 5-30 min with Wnt3a induced a large increase in total endocytic vesicles which were also positive for asymmetric dimethylarginine modifications. Protease protection studies, both biochemical and in situ in cultured cells, showed that many meArg-modified cytosolic proteins became rapidly translocated into MVBs together with GSK3 and Lys48-polyubiquitinated proteins by ESCRT-driven microautophagy. In the case of the transcription factor Smad4, we showed that a unique arginine methylation site was required for GSK3 phosphorylation and Wnt regulation. The enzyme PRMT1 was found to be essential for Wnt-stimulated arginine methylation, GSK3 sequestration, and canonical Wnt signaling. The results reveal a cell biological role for PRMT1 arginine methylation at the crossroads of growth factor signaling, protein phosphorylation, membrane trafficking, cytosolic proteolysis, and Wnt-regulated microautophagy.

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