British journal of haematology

Loss of RUNX1/AML1 arginine-methylation impairs peripheral T cell homeostasis.

PMID 26010396


RUNX1 (previously termed AML1) is a frequent target of human leukaemia-associated gene aberrations, and it encodes the DNA-binding subunit of the Core-Binding Factor transcription factor complex. RUNX1 expression is essential for the initiation of definitive haematopoiesis, for steady-state thrombopoiesis, and for normal lymphocytes development. Recent studies revealed that protein arginine methyltransferase 1 (PRMT1), which accounts for the majority of the type I PRMT activity in cells, methylates two arginine residues in RUNX1 (R206 and R210), and these modifications inhibit corepressor-binding to RUNX1 thereby enhancing its transcriptional activity. In order to elucidate the biological significance of these methylations, we established novel knock-in mouse lines with non-methylable, double arginine-to-lysine (RTAMR-to-KTAMK) mutations in RUNX1. Homozygous Runx1(KTAMK) (/) (KTAMK) mice are born alive and appear normal during adulthood. However, Runx1(KTAMK) (/) (KTAMK) mice showed a reduction in CD3(+) T lymphoid cells and a decrease in CD4(+) T cells in peripheral lymphoid organs, in comparison to their wild-type littermates, leading to a reduction in the CD4(+) to CD8(+) T-cell ratio. These findings suggest that arginine-methylation of RUNX1 in the RTAMR-motif is dispensable for the development of definitive haematopoiesis and for steady-state platelet production, however this modification affects the role of RUNX1 in the maintenance of the peripheral CD4(+) T-cell population.