BMC plant biology

Root morphogenic pathways in Eucalyptus grandis are modified by the activity of protein arginine methyltransferases.

PMID 28279165


Methylation of proteins at arginine residues, catalysed by members of the protein arginine methyltransferase (PRMT) family, is crucial for the regulation of gene transcription and for protein function in eukaryotic organisms. Inhibition of the activity of PRMTs in annual model plants has demonstrated wide-ranging involvement of PRMTs in key plant developmental processes, however, PRMTs have not been characterised or studied in long-lived tree species. Taking advantage of the recently available genome for Eucalyptus grandis, we demonstrate that most of the major plant PRMTs are conserved in E. grandis as compared to annual plants and that they are expressed in all major plant tissues. Proteomic and transcriptomic analysis in roots suggest that the PRMTs of E. grandis control a number of regulatory proteins and genes related to signalling during cellular/root growth and morphogenesis. We demonstrate here, using chemical inhibition of methylation and transgenic approaches, that plant type I PRMTs are necessary for normal root growth and branching in E. grandis. We further show that EgPRMT1 has a key role in root hair initiation and elongation and is involved in the methylation of β-tubulin, a key protein in cytoskeleton formation. Together, our data demonstrate that PRMTs encoded by E. grandis methylate a number of key proteins and alter the transcription of a variety of genes involved in developmental processes. Appropriate levels of expression of type I PRMTs are necessary for the proper growth and development of E. grandis roots.