Arginine methylation mediated by the Arabidopsis homolog of PRMT5 is essential for proper pre-mRNA splicing

Xian Deng, Lianfeng Gu, Chunyan Liu, Tiancong Lu, Falong Lu, Zhike Lu, Peng Cui, Yanxi Pei, Baichen Wang, Songnian Hu, Xiaofeng Cao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Scopus citations


Protein arginine methylation, one of the most abundant and important posttranslational modifications, is involved in a multitude of biological processes in eukaryotes, such as transcriptional regulation and RNA processing. Symmetric arginine dimethylation is required for snRNP biogenesis and is assumed to be essential for pre-mRNA splicing; however, except for in vitro evidence, whether it affects splicing in vivo remains elusive. Mutation in an Arabidopsis symmetric arginine dimethyltransferase, AtPRMT5, causes pleiotropic developmental defects, including late flowering, but the underlying molecular mechanism is largely unknown. Here we show that AtPRMT5 methylates a wide spectrum of substrates, including some RNA binding or processing factors and U snRNP AtSmD1, D3, and AtLSm4 proteins, which are involved in RNA metabolism. RNA-seq analyses reveal that AtPRMT5 deficiency causes splicing defects in hundreds of genes involved in multiple biological processes. The splicing defects are identified in transcripts of several RNA processing factors involved in regulating flowering time. In particular, splicing defects at the flowering regulator FLOWERING LOCUS KH DOMAIN (FLK) in atprmt5 mutants reduce its functional transcript and protein levels, resulting in the up-regulation of a flowering repressor FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC) and consequently late flowering. Taken together, our findings uncover an essential role for arginine methylation in proper premRNA splicing that impacts diverse developmental processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19114-19119
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number44
StatePublished - Nov 2 2010

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