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1.  Differential CARM1 expression in prostate and colorectal cancers 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:197.
Coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1) functions as a transcriptional coactivator of androgen receptor (AR)-mediated signaling. Correspondingly, overexpression of CARM1 has been associated with the development of prostate cancer (PCa) and its progression to androgen-independent PCa. In our preliminary study, however, the promoting effects of CARM1, with regard to androgen-stimulated AR target gene expression were minimal. These results suggested that the AR target gene expression associated with CARM1 may result primarily from non-hormone dependent activity. The goal of this study was to confirm the pattern of expression of CARM1 in human tumors and determine the mechanism of action in CARM1 overexpressed tumors.
Tissue microarray was used to determine the pattern of expression of CARM1 in human cancers by immunohistochemistry. CARM1 expression was also evaluated in prostate and colorectal surgical specimens and the clinical records of all cases were reviewed. In addition, a reporter transcription assay using the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) promoter was used to identify the signaling pathways involved in non-hormone-mediated signal activation associated with CARM1.
The tissue microarray showed that CARM1 was particularly overexpressed in the colorectal cancers while CARM1 expression was not prevalent in the prostate and breast cancers. Further studies using surgical specimens demonstrated that CARM1 was highly overexpressed in 75% of colorectal cancers (49 out of 65) but not in the androgen-independent PCa. In addition, CARM1's coactivating effect on the entire PSA promoter was very limited in both androgen-dependent and androgen-independent PCa cells. These results suggest that there are other factors associated with CARM1 expression in PSA regulation. Indeed, CARM1 significantly regulated both p53 and NF-κB target gene transcription.
The results of this study suggest that, in addition to its role in activation of steroid receptors, CARM1 functions as a transcriptional modulator by altering the activity of many transcriptional factors, especially with regard to androgen independent PCa and colorectal cancers.
PMCID: PMC2881889  PMID: 20462455
2.  The protein arginine methyltransferases CARM1 and PRMT1 cooperate in gene regulation 
Nucleic Acids Research  2008;36(10):3202-3213.
Protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMT) have been implicated in the regulation of transcription. They are recruited to promoters via interaction with transcription factors and exert their coactivator function by methylating arginine residues in histones and other chromatin proteins. Here, we employ an unbiased approach to identify novel target genes, which are under the control of two members of the enzyme family, PRMT1 and CARM1/PRMT4 (coactivator associated arginine methyltransferase 1). By using cDNA microarray analysis, we find that the siRNA-mediated single knockdown of neither CARM1 nor PRMT1 causes significant changes in gene expression. In contrast, double knockdown of both enzymes results in the deregulated expression of a large group of genes, among them the CITED2 gene. Cytokine-stimulated expression analysis indicates that transcriptional activation of CITED2 depends on STAT5 and the coactivation of both PRMTs. ChIP analysis identifies the CITED2 gene as a direct target gene of STAT5, CARM1 and PRMT1. In reporter gene assays, we show that STAT5-mediated transcription is cooperatively enhanced by CARM1 and PRMT1. Interaction assays reveal a cytokine-induced association of STAT5 and the two PRMTs. Our data demonstrate a widespread cooperation of CARM1 and PRMT1 in gene activation as well as repression and that STAT5-dependent transcription of the CITED2 gene is a novel pathway coactivated by the two methyltransferases.
PMCID: PMC2425501  PMID: 18413343
3.  Developmentally Essential Protein Flightless I Is a Nuclear Receptor Coactivator with Actin Binding Activity 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2004;24(5):2103-2117.
Hormone-activated nuclear receptors (NR) activate transcription by recruiting multiple coactivator complexes to the promoters of target genes. One important coactivator complex includes a p160 coactivator (e.g., GRIP1, SRC-1, or ACTR) that binds directly to activated NR, the histone acetyltransferase p300 or CBP, and the arginine-specific histone methyltransferase CARM1. We previously demonstrated that the coactivator function of CARM1 depends both on the methyltransferase activity and on additional unknown proteins that bind to CARM1. In this study a yeast two-hybrid screen for proteins that bind CARM1 identified the protein Flightless I (Fli-I), which has essential roles in Drosophila and mouse development. Fli-I bound to CARM1, GRIP1, and NRs and cooperated synergistically with CARM1 and GRIP1 to enhance NR function. Fli-I bound poorly to and did not cooperate with PRMT1, a CARM1-related protein arginine methyltransferase that also functions as an NR coactivator. The synergy between GRIP1, CARM1, and Fli-I required the methyltransferase activity of CARM1. The C-terminal AD1 (binding site for p300/CBP) and AD2 (binding site for CARM1) activation domains of GRIP1 contributed to the synergy but were less stringently required than the N-terminal region of GRIP1, which is the binding site for Fli-I. Endogenous Fli-I was recruited to the estrogen-regulated pS2 gene promoter of MCF-7 cells in response to the hormone, and reduction of endogenous Fli-I levels by small interfering RNA reduced hormone-stimulated gene expression by the endogenous estrogen receptor. A fragment of Fli-I that is related to the actin binding protein gelsolin enhanced estrogen receptor activity, and mutations that reduced actin binding also reduced the coactivator function of this Fli-I fragment. These data suggest that Fli-I may facilitate interaction of the p160 coactivator complex with other coactivators or coactivator complexes containing actin or actin-like proteins.
PMCID: PMC350567  PMID: 14966289
4.  Synergy among Nuclear Receptor Coactivators: Selective Requirement for Protein Methyltransferase and Acetyltransferase Activities 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2002;22(11):3621-3632.
Hormone-activated nuclear receptors (NR) bind to specific regulatory DNA elements associated with their target genes and recruit coactivator proteins to remodel chromatin structure, recruit RNA polymerase, and activate transcription. The p160 coactivators (e.g., SRC-1, GRIP1, and ACTR) bind directly to activated NR and can recruit a variety of secondary coactivators. We have established a transient-transfection assay system under which the activity of various NR is highly or completely dependent on synergistic cooperation among three classes of coactivators: a p160 coactivator, the protein methyltransferase CARM1, and any of the three protein acetyltransferases, p300, CBP, or p/CAF. The three-coactivator functional synergy was only observed when low levels of NR were expressed and was highly or completely dependent on the methyltransferase activity of CARM1 and the acetyltransferase activity of p/CAF, but not the acetyltransferase activity of p300. Other members of the protein arginine methyltransferase family, which methylate different protein substrates than CARM1, could not substitute for CARM1 to act synergistically with p300 or p/CAF. A ternary complex of GRIP1, CARM1, and p300 or CBP was demonstrated in cultured mammalian cells, supporting a physiological role for the observed synergy. The transfection assay described here is a valuable new tool for investigating the mechanism of coactivator function and demonstrates the importance of multiple coactivators, including CARM1 and its specific protein methyltransferase activity, in transcriptional activation.
PMCID: PMC133819  PMID: 11997499
5.  Expression and purification of full-length mouse CARM1 from transiently transfected HEK293T cells using HaloTag technology 
Coactivator-associated arginine methyl transferase 1 (CARM1) is a protein arginine methyltransferase (PRMT) family member that functions as a coactivator in androgen and estrogen signaling pathways and plays a role in the progression of prostate and breast cancer. CARM1 catalyzes methylation of diverse protein substrates. Prior attempts to purify the full-length mouse CARM1 protein have proven unsatisfactory. The full-length protein expressed in E. coli forms insoluble inclusion bodies that are difficult to denature and to refold. The presented results demonstrate the use of a novel HaloTag™ technology to purify full-length CARM1 from both E. coli and mammalian HEK293T cells. A small amount of CARM1 was purified from E. coli; however, the protein was truncated on the N-terminus by 10–50 amino acids, most likely due to endogenous proteolytic activity. In contrast, substantial quantities of soluble full-length CARM1 were purified from transiently transfected HEK293T cells. The CARM1 from HEK293T cells was isolated alongside a number of co-purifying interacting proteins. The covalent bond formed between the HaloTag and the HaloLink resin allowed the use of stringent wash conditions without risk of eluting the CARM1 protein. The results also illustrate a highly effective approach for purifying and enriching both CARM1-associated proteins as well as substrates for CARM1’s methyltransferase activity.
PMCID: PMC3248244  PMID: 21126607
CARM1; PRMT family; methyl transferase; HaloTag; HaloLink resin; affinity purification
6.  A TR-FRET based functional assay for screening activators of CARM1 
Chembiochem : a European journal of chemical biology  2013;14(7):10.1002/cbic.201300029.
Epigenome is an emerging field that demands selective cell-permeable chemical probes to perturb, especially in vivo, the activity of specific enzymes involved in modulating the epigenetic codes. Coactivator Associated Arginine (R) Methyltransferase 1 (CARM1) is a coactivator of estrogen receptor α (ERα), the main target in human breast cancer. We previously showed that overexpression of CARM1 by two-fold in MCF7 breast cancer cells increased the expression of ERα-target genes involved in differentiation and reduced cell proliferation, leading to the hypothesis that activating CARM1 by chemical activators may be therapeutically effective in breast cancer. Selective, potent, cell-permeable CARM1 activators will be essential to test this hypothesis. Here we report the development of a cell-based, time-resolved Förster resonance energy transfer (TR-FRET) assay using poly (A) binding protein 1 (PABP1) methylation to monitor cellular activity of CARM1. The LanthaScreen® TR-FRET assay utilizes MCF7 cells expressing GFP-PABP1 fusion protein via BacMam gene delivery system, methyl-PABP1 specific antibody and terbium-labeled secondary antibody. This assay has been validated to reflect the expression and/or activity of CARM1 and optimized for high throughput screening to identify CARM1 allosteric activators. This TR-FRET platform serves as a generic tool for functional screening of cell-permeable, chemical modulators of CARM1 for elucidation of its in vivo functions.
PMCID: PMC3828750  PMID: 23585185
Arginine methylation; CARM1; PABP1; TR-FRET
7.  Xenoestrogens Regulate the Activity of Arginine Methyltransferases 
Chembiochem  2010;12(2):323-329.
Arginine methylation is a common posttranslational modification that has been strongly implicated in transcriptional regulation. The arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) were first reported as transcriptional coactivators for the estrogen and androgen receptors. Compounds that inhibit these enzymes will provide us with valuable tools for dissecting the roles of these enzymes in cells, and will possibly also have therapeutic applications. In order to identify such inhibitors of the PRMTs, we performed a high throughput screen using a small molecule library a number of years ago. We termed these compounds AMIs (arginine methyltransferase inhibitors). The majority of these inhibitors were polyphenols, and one in particular (AMI-18) shared additional features with a group of known xenoestrogens. We thus tested a panel of xenoestrogens and found that a number of them possess the ability to inhibit PRMT activity in vitro. These inhibitors primarily target CARM1, and include licochalcone A, kepone, benzyl 4-hydroxybenzoate, and tamoxifen. We developed a cell-based reporter system for CARM1 activity, and showed that tamoxifen (IC50=30 µM) inhibits this PRMT. The ability of these compounds to regulate the activity of transcriptional coactivators may be an unappreciated mechanism of action for xenoestrogens and may also explain the efficacy of high-dose tamoxifen treatment on estrogen receptor negative cancers.
PMCID: PMC3142315  PMID: 21243720
PRMT1; CARM1; Arginine methylation; Xenoestrogens
8.  Coactivator-Associated Arginine Methyltransferase 1 Enhances Transcriptional Activity of the Human T-Cell Lymphotropic Virus Type 1 Long Terminal Repeat through Direct Interaction with Tax 
Journal of Virology  2006;80(20):10036-10044.
In this study, we demonstrate that the coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1), which methylates histone H3 and other proteins such as p300/CBP, is positively involved in the regulation of Tax transactivation. First, transfection studies demonstrated that overexpression of CARM1 wild-type protein resulted in increased Tax transactivation of the human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) long terminal repeat (LTR). In contrast, transfection of a catalytically inactive CARM1 methyltransferase mutant did not enhance Tax transactivation. CARM1 facilitated Tax transactivation of the CREB-dependent cellular GEM promoter. A direct physical interaction between HTLV-1 Tax and CARM1 was demonstrated using in vitro glutathione S-transferase-Tax binding assays, in vivo coimmunoprecipitation, and confocal microscopy experiments. Finally, chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis of the activated HTLV-1 LTR promoter showed the association of CARM1 and methylated histone H3 with the template DNA. In vitro, Tax facilitates the binding of CARM1 to the transcription complex. Together, our data provide evidence that CARM1 enhances Tax transactivation of the HTLV-1 LTR through a direct interaction between CARM1 and Tax and this binding promotes methylation of histone H3 (R2, R17, and R26).
PMCID: PMC1617284  PMID: 17005681
9.  Expression, purification, crystallization and preliminary crystallographic study of isolated modules of the mouse coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 
Isolated modules of mouse coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 encompassing the protein arginine N-methyltransferase catalytic domain have been overexpressed, purified and crystallized. X-ray diffraction data have been collected and have enabled determination of the structures by multiple isomorphous replacement using anomalous scattering.
Coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1) plays a crucial role in gene expression as a coactivator of several nuclear hormone receptors and also of non-nuclear receptor systems. Its recruitment by the transcriptional machinery induces protein methylation, leading to chromatin remodelling and gene activation. CARM128–507 and two structural states of CARM1140–480 were expressed, purified and crystallized. Crystals of CARM128–507 belong to space group P6222, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 136.0, c = 125.3 Å; they diffract to beyond 2.5 Å resolution using synchrotron radiation and contain one monomer in the asymmetric unit. The structure of CARM128–507 was solved by multiple isomorphous replacement and anomalous scattering methods. Crystals of apo CARM1140–480 belong to space group I222, with unit-cell parameters a = 74.6, b = 99.0, c = 207.4 Å; they diffract to beyond 2.7 Å resolution and contain two monomers in the asymmetric unit. Crystals of CARM1140–480 in complex with S-­adenosyl-l-homocysteine belong to space P21212, with unit-cell parameters a = 74.6, b = 98.65, c = 206.08 Å; they diffract to beyond 2.6 Å resolution and contain four monomers in the asymmetric unit. The structures of apo and holo CARM1140–480 were solved by molecular-replacement techniques from the structure of CARM128–507.
PMCID: PMC2330207  PMID: 17401209
CARM1; gene expression
10.  Identification of Small-Molecule Enhancers of Arginine Methylation Catalyzed by Coactivator-Associated Arginine Methyltransferase 1 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2012;55(22):9875-9890.
Arginine methylation is a common post-translational modification that is crucial in modulating gene expression at multiple critical levels. The arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) are envisaged as promising druggable targets but their role in physiological and pathological pathways is far from being clear, due to the limited number of modulators reported to date. In this effort, enzyme activators can be invaluable tools useful as gain-of-function reagents to interrogate the biological roles in cells and in vivo of PRMTs. Yet the identification of such molecules is rarely pursued. Herein we describe a series of aryl ureido acetamido indole carboxylates (dubbed “uracandolates”), able to increase the methylation of histone- (H3) or non-histone (polyadenylate-binding protein 1, PABP1) substrates induced by coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1), both in in vitro and cellular settings. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of compounds acting as CARM1 activators.
PMCID: PMC3508294  PMID: 23095008
CARM1 activator; PRMT inhibitors; arginine methyltransferase; histone modifying enzyme; epigenetics
11.  The Activity and Stability of the Transcriptional Coactivator p/CIP/SRC-3 Are Regulated by CARM1-Dependent Methylation▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2006;27(1):120-134.
The transcriptional coactivator p/CIP(SRC-3/AIB1/ACTR/RAC3) binds liganded nuclear hormone receptors and facilitates transcription by directly recruiting accessory factors such as acetyltransferase CBP/p300 and the coactivator arginine methyltransferase CARM1. In the present study, we have established that recombinant p/CIP (p300/CBP interacting protein) is robustly methylated by CARM1 in vitro but not by other protein arginine methyltransferase family members. Metabolic labeling of MCF-7 breast cancer cells with S-adenosyl-L-[methyl-3H]methionine and immunoblotting using dimethyl arginine-specific antibodies demonstrated that p/CIP is specifically methylated in intact cells. In addition, methylation of full-length p/CIP is not supported by extracts derived from CARM1−/− mouse embryo fibroblasts, indicating that CARM1 is required for p/CIP methylation. Using mass spectrometry, we have identified three CARM1-dependent methylation sites located in a glutamine-rich region within the carboxy terminus of p/CIP which are conserved among all steroid receptor coactivator proteins. These results were confirmed by in vitro methylation of p/CIP using carboxy-terminal truncation mutants and synthetic peptides as substrates for CARM1. Analysis of methylation site mutants revealed that arginine methylation causes an increase in full-length p/CIP turnover as a result of enhanced degradation. Additionally, methylation negatively impacts transcription via a second mechanism by impairing the ability of p/CIP to associate with CBP. Collectively, our data highlight coactivator methylation as an important regulatory mechanism in hormonal signaling.
PMCID: PMC1800659  PMID: 17043108
12.  Distinct Protein Arginine Methyltransferases Promote ATP-Dependent Chromatin Remodeling Function at Different Stages of Skeletal Muscle Differentiation▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2009;29(7):1909-1921.
Temporal regulation of gene expression is a hallmark of cellular differentiation pathways, yet the mechanisms controlling the timing of expression for different classes of differentiation-specific genes are not well understood. We previously demonstrated that the class II arginine methyltransferase Prmt5 was required for skeletal muscle differentiation at the early stages of myogenesis (C. S. Dacwag, Y. Ohkawa, S. Pal, S. Sif, and A. N. Imbalzano, Mol. Cell. Biol. 27:384-394, 2007). Specifically, when Prmt5 levels were reduced, the ATP-dependent SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling enzymes could not interact with or remodel the promoter of myogenin, an essential early gene. Here we investigated the requirement for Prmt5 and the class I arginine methyltransferase Carm1/Prmt4 in the temporal control of myogenesis. Both arginine methyltransferases could bind to and modify histones at late-gene regulatory sequences. However, the two enzymes showed sequential requirements for gene expression. Prmt5 was required for early-gene expression but dispensable for late-gene expression. Carm1/Prmt4 was required for late- but not for early-gene expression. The reason for the requirement for Carm1/Prmt4 at late genes was to facilitate SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling enzyme interaction and remodeling at late-gene loci. Thus, distinct arginine methyltransferases are employed at different times of skeletal muscle differentiation for the purpose of facilitating ATP-dependent chromatin-remodeling enzyme interaction and function at myogenic genes.
PMCID: PMC2655603  PMID: 19188441
The Journal of biological chemistry  2006;281(13):8476-8485.
Methylation of Lys-9 of histone H3 has been associated with repression of transcription. G9a is a histone H3 Lys-9 methyltransferase localized in euchromatin and acts as a corepressor for specific transcription factors. Here we demonstrate that G9a also functions as a coactivator for nuclear receptors, cooperating synergistically with nuclear receptor coactivators GRIP1, CARM1, and p300 in transient transfection assays. This synergy depends strongly on the arginine-specific protein methyltransferase activity of CARM1 but does not absolutely require the enzymatic activity of G9a and is specific to CARM1 and G9a among various protein methyltransferases. Reduction of endogenous G9a diminished hormonal activation of an endogenous target gene by the androgen receptor, and G9a associates with regulatory regions of this same gene. G9a fused to Gal4 DNA binding domain can repress transcription in a lysine methyltransferase-dependent manner; however, the histone modifications associated with transcriptional activation can inhibit the methyltransferase activity of G9a. These findings suggest a link between histone arginine and lysine methylation and a mechanism for controlling whether G9a functions as a corepressor or coactivator.
PMCID: PMC1770944  PMID: 16461774
14.  Signaling within a Coactivator Complex: Methylation of SRC-3/AIB1 Is a Molecular Switch for Complex Disassembly▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2006;26(21):7846-7857.
Recent studies indicate that steroid receptor-mediated transcriptional initiation is a cyclical process involving multiple rounds of coactivator assembly and disassembly. Steroid receptor coactivator 3 (SRC-3) coactivator phosphorylation has been shown to regulate coactivator complex assembly, but the mechanisms by which coactivator disassembly is triggered are not well understood. In this study, we provide in vitro and in vivo evidence that members of the SRC coactivator family serve as substrates for the enzymatic coactivator coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1). Methylation of SRC-3 was localized to an arginine in its CARM1 binding region and correlated with decreased estrogen receptor alpha-mediated transcription, as seen with both cell-based and in vitro transcription assays. Consistent with this finding, we demonstrated that methylation promotes dissociation of the SRC-3/CARM1 coactivator complex. Methylation of SRC-3 is regulated by estrogen signaling in MCF7 cells and serves as a molecular switch for disassembly of the SRC-3 transcriptional coactivator complex. We propose that CARM1 is a dual-function coactivator, as it not only activates transcription by modifying core histone tails but also terminates hormone signaling by disassembly of the coactivator complex.
PMCID: PMC1636757  PMID: 16923966
15.  CARM1 regulates fetal hematopoiesis and thymocyte development 
CARM13 (coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1) is a protein arginine methyltransferase that methylates histones and transcriptional regulators. We previously reported that the absence of CARM1 partially blocks thymocyte differentiation at embryonic day 18.5 (E18.5). Here we find that reduced thymopoiesis in Carm1−/− mice is due to a defect in the fetal hematopoietic compartment rather than in the thymic stroma. To determine the cellular basis for impaired thymopoiesis, we examined the number and function of fetal liver and bone marrow cells. Despite markedly reduced cellularity of hematopoietic progenitors in E18.5 bone marrow, the number of long-term hematopoietic stem cells and downstream subsets was not reduced in Carm1−/− E14.5 or E18.5 fetal liver. Nevertheless, competitive reconstitution assays revealed a deficit in the ability of Carm1−/− fetal liver cells to contribute to hematopoiesis. Furthermore, impaired differentiation of Carm1−/− fetal liver cells in a CARM1 sufficient host showed that CARM1 is required cell-autonomously in hematopoietic cells. Co-culture of Carm1−/− fetal liver cells on OP9-DL1 monolayers showed that CARM1 is required for survival of hematopoietic progenitors under conditions that promote differentiation. Taken together, this report demonstrates that CARM1 is a key epigenetic regulator of hematopoiesis that affects multiple lineages at various stages of differentiation.
PMCID: PMC3538901  PMID: 23248263
16.  Automethylation of CARM1 allows coupling of transcription and mRNA splicing 
Nucleic Acids Research  2010;39(7):2717-2726.
Coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1), the histone arginine methyltransferase and coactivator for many transcription factors, is subject to multiple post-translational modifications (PTMs). To unbiasedly investigate novel CARM1 PTMs we employed high-resolution top-down mass spectrometry. Surprisingly, mouse CARM1 expressed in insect and mammalian expression systems was completely dimethylated at a single site in the C-terminal domain (CTD). We demonstrate that dimethylation of CARM1 occurs both in vivo and in vitro and proceeds via an automethylation mechanism. To probe function of automethylation, we mutated arginine 551 to lysine to create an automethylation-deficient CARM1. Although mutation of CARM1's automethylation site did not affect its enzymatic activity, it did impair both CARM1-activated transcription and pre-mRNA splicing. These results strongly imply that automethylation of CARM1 provides a direct link to couple transcription and pre-mRNA splicing in a manner differing from the other steroid receptor coactivators. Furthermore, our study identifies a self-regulatory signaling mechanism from CARM1's catalytic domain to its CTD.
PMCID: PMC3074151  PMID: 21138967
17.  Targeted disruption of the p160 coactivator interface of androgen receptor (AR) selectively inhibits AR activity in both androgen-dependent and castration-resistant AR-expressing prostate cancer cells 
The evidence that androgen blockade-resistant prostate cancer, termed castration resistant, remains androgen receptor (AR) dependent is compelling. AR is re-activated through multiple mechanisms including expression of constitutively active splice variants that lack hormone binding domains (HBD). This highlights the need to develop therapies that target regions other than the HBD. Because the p160 coactivators interact most strongly with the amino-terminus of AR, we examined the consequences of disrupting this interaction. We identified two overlapping SRC-1 peptides that interact with AR, but not with progesterone receptor. These peptides reduce AR and AR variant AR-V7 dependent induction of an AR responsive reporter. Using mammalian two hybrid assays, we found that the peptides interrupt the AR/SRC-1; AR/SRC-2 and AR N/C interactions, but not SRC-1/CARM-1 interactions. Consistent with the SRC-1 dependence of induced, but not repressed genes, in LNCaP cells, the peptides inhibited hormone dependent induction of endogenous target genes including PSA and TMPRSS2, but did not block AR dependent repression of UGT2B17 or inhibit vitamin D receptor activity. Simultaneous detection of SRC-1 peptides and PSA by double immunofluorescence in transfected LNCaP cells clearly demonstrated a strong reduction in PSA levels in cells expressing the peptides. The peptides also inhibited the AR dependent expression of PSA in castration resistant C4-2 cells,. Moreover they inhibited androgen dependent proliferation of LNCaP cells and proliferation of C4-2 cells in androgen depleted medium without affecting AR negative PC-3 cells. Thus, the p160 coactivator binding site is a novel potential therapeutic target to inhibit AR activity.
PMCID: PMC3593820  PMID: 23270728
SRC-1; androgen receptor; prostate cancer; peptide; CRPC
18.  PRMT5 is required for cell-cycle progression and p53 tumor suppressor function 
Nucleic Acids Research  2009;37(15):4965-4976.
Protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) mediate the transfer of methyl groups to arginines in proteins involved in signal transduction, transcriptional regulation and RNA processing. Tumor suppressor p53 coordinates crucial cellular processes, including cell-cycle arrest and DNA repair, in response to stress signals. Post-translational modifications and interactions with co-factors are important to regulate p53 transcriptional activity. To explore whether PRMTs modulate p53 function, we generated multiple cell lines in which PRMT1, CARM1 and PRMT5 are inducibly knocked down. Here, we showed that PRMT5, but not PRMT1 or CARM1, is essential for cell proliferation and PRMT5 deficiency triggers cell-cycle arrest in G1. In addition, PRMT5 is required for p53 expression and induction of p53 targets MDM2 and p21 upon DNA damage. Importantly, we established that PRMT5 knockdown prevents p53 protein synthesis. Furthermore, we found that PRMT5 regulates the expression of translation initiation factor eIF4E and growth suppression mediated upon PRMT5 knockdown is independent of p53 but is dependent on eIF4E. Taken together, we uncovered that arginine methyltransferase PRMT5 is a major pro-survival factor regulating eIF4E expression and p53 translation.
PMCID: PMC2731901  PMID: 19528079
19.  TIF1α mediates physical interaction and functional synergy between the CARM1 and GRIP1 nuclear receptor coactivators 
In previous studies Transcriptional Intermediary Factor 1α (TIF1α) was identified as a direct binding partner and potential transcriptional coactivator for nuclear receptors (NR), but its over-expression inhibited rather than enhanced transcriptional activation by NRs. Here we show that TIF1α bound to and enhanced the function of the C-terminal activation domain of Coactivator Associated Arginine Methyltransferase 1 (CARM1) and the N-terminal activation domain of Glucocorticoid Receptor Interacting Protein 1 (GRIP1). Furthermore, although TIF1α had little or no NR coactivator activity by itself, it cooperated synergistically with GRIP1 and CARM1 to enhance NR-mediated transcription. Inhibition of endogenous TIF1α expression reduced transcriptional activation by the GRIP1 N-terminal domain but not by the CARM1 C-terminal domain, suggesting that TIF1α may be more important for mediating the activity of the former than the latter. Reduction of endogenous TIF1α levels also compromised the androgen-dependent induction of an endogenous target gene of the androgen receptor. Finally, TIF1α formed a ternary complex with the GRIP1 N-terminal and CARM1 C-terminal domains. Thus, we conclude that TIF1α cooperates with NR coactivators GRIP1 and CARM1 by forming a stable ternary complex with them and enhancing the activation domain function of one or both of them.
PMCID: PMC1626528  PMID: 16322096
20.  Expression and sub-cellular localization of an epigenetic regulator, co-activator arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1), is associated with specific breast cancer subtypes and ethnicity 
Molecular Cancer  2013;12:40.
Co-Activator Arginine Methyltransferase 1(CARM1) is an Estrogen Receptor (ER) cofactor that remodels chromatin for gene regulation via methylation of Histone3. We investigated CARM1 levels and localization across breast cancer tumors in a cohort of patients of either European or African ancestry.
We analyzed CARM1 levels using tissue microarrays with over 800 histological samples from 549 female cancer patients from the US and Nigeria, Africa. We assessed associations between CARM1 expression localized to the nucleus and cytoplasm for 11 distinct variables, including; ER status, Progesterone Receptor status, molecular subtypes, ethnicity, HER2+ status, other clinical variables and survival.
We found that levels of cytoplasmic CARM1 are distinct among tumor sub-types and increased levels are associated with ER-negative (ER-) status. Higher nuclear CARM1 levels are associated with HER2 receptor status. EGFR expression also correlates with localization of CARM1 into the cytoplasm. This suggests there are distinct functions of CARM1 among molecular tumor types. Our data reveals a basal-like subtype association with CARM1, possibly due to expression of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR). Lastly, increased cytoplasmic CARM1, relative to nuclear levels, appear to be associated with self-identified African ethnicity and this result is being further investigated using quantified genetic ancestry measures.
Although it is known to be an ER cofactor in breast cancer, CARM1 expression levels are independent of ER. CARM1 has distinct functions among molecular subtypes, as is indicative of its sub-cellular localization and it may function in subtype etiology. These sub-cellular localization patterns, indicate a novel role beyond its ER cofactor function in breast cancer. Differential localization among ethnic groups may be due to ancestry-specific polymorphisms which alter the gene product.
PMCID: PMC3663705  PMID: 23663560
Tissue-microarray; Breast cancer; Molecular subtypes; CARM1; Epigenetic regulator; Subcellular localization; Ethnic disparities
21.  MicroRNA-181 Regulates CARM1 and Histone Aginine Methylation to Promote Differentiation of Human Embryonic Stem Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e53146.
As a novel epigenetic mechanism, histone H3 methylation at R17 and R26, which is mainly catalyzed by coactivator-associated protein arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1), has been reported to modulate the transcription of key pluripotency factors and to regulate pluripotency in mouse embryos and mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) in previous studies. However, the role of CARM1 in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and the regulatory mechanism that controls CARM1 expression during ESCs differentiation are presently unknown. Here, we demonstrate that CARM1 plays an active role in the resistance to differentiation in hESCs by regulating pluripotency genes in response to BMP4. In a functional screen, we identified the miR-181 family as a regulator of CARM1 that is induced during ESC differentiation and show that endogenous miR-181c represses the expression of CARM1. Depletion of CARM1 or enforced expression of miR-181c inhibits the expression of pluripotency genes and induces differentiation independent of BMP4, whereas overexpression of CARM1 or miR-181c inhibitor elevates Nanog and impedes differentiation. Furthermore, expression of CARM1 rescue constructs inhibits the effect of miR-181c overexpression in promoting differentiation. Taken together, our findings demonstrate the importance of a miR-181c-CARM1 pathway in regulating the differentiation of hESCs.
PMCID: PMC3536801  PMID: 23301034
22.  The Methyltransferases PRMT4/CARM1 and PRMT5 Control Differentially Myogenesis in Zebrafish 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e25427.
In vertebrates, skeletal myogenesis involves the sequential activation of myogenic factors to lead ultimately to the differentiation into slow and fast muscle fibers. How transcriptional co-regulators such as arginine methyltransferases PRMT4/CARM1 and PRMT5 control myogenesis in vivo remains poorly understood. Loss-of-function experiments using morpholinos against PRMT4/CARM1 and PRMT5 combined with in situ hybridization, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, as well as immunohistochemistry indicate a positive, but differential, role of these enzymes during myogenesis in vivo. While PRMT5 regulates myod, myf5 and myogenin expression and thereby slow and fast fiber formation, PRMT4/CARM1 regulates myogenin expression, fast fiber formation and does not affect slow fiber formation. However, our results show that PRMT4/CARM1 is required for proper slow myosin heavy chain localization. Altogether, our results reveal a combinatorial role of PRMT4/CARM1 and PRMT5 for proper myogenesis in zebrafish.
PMCID: PMC3189919  PMID: 22016767
23.  CARM1 is an important determinant of ERα-dependent breast cancer cell differentiation and proliferation in breast cancer cells 
Cancer research  2011;71(6):2118-2128.
Breast cancers expressing estrogen receptor α (ERα) are often more differentiated histologically than ERα-negative tumors, but the reasons for this difference are poorly understood. One possible explanation is that transcriptional co-factors associated with ERα determine the expression of genes which promote a more differentiated phenotype. In this study, we identify one such cofactor as coactivator associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1), a unique co-activator of ERα that can simultaneously block cell proliferation and induce differentiation through global regulation of ERα-regulated genes. CARM1 was evidenced as an ERα co-activator in cell-based assays, gene expression microarrays, and mouse xenograft models. In human breast tumors, CARM1 expression positively correlated with ERα levels in ER+ tumors but was inversely correlated with tumor grade. Our findings suggest that co-expression of CARM1 and ERα may provide a better biomarker of well-differentiated breast cancer. Further, our findings define an important functional role of this histone arginine methyltransferase in re-programming ERα-regulated cellular processes, implicating CARM1 as a putative epigenetic target in ER-positive breast cancers.
PMCID: PMC3076802  PMID: 21282336
CARM1; histone methylation; breast cancer; differentiation; epigenetics
24.  Transcriptional Activation of Human Matrix Metalloproteinase-9 Gene Expression by Multiple Coactivators 
Journal of molecular biology  2008;383(5):945-956.
Matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), a proteolytic enzyme for matrix proteins, chemokines and cytokines, is a major target in cancer and autoimmune diseases since it is aberrantly upregulated. To control MMP-9 expression in pathological conditions, it is necessary to understand the regulatory mechanisms of MMP-9 expression. MMP-9 gene expression is regulated primarily at the transcriptional level. In this study, we investigated the role of multiple coactivators in regulating MMP-9 transcription. We demonstrate that multiple transcriptional coactivators are involved in MMP-9 promoter activation, including CBP/p300, PCAF, CARM1 and GRIP1. Furthermore, enhancement of MMP-9 promoter activity requires the histone acetyltransferase activity of PCAF but not that of CBP/p300, and the methyltransferase activity of CARM1. More importantly, these coactivators are not only able to activate MMP-9 promoter activity independently, but also function in a synergistic manner. Significant synergy was observed among CARM1, p300 and GRIP1, which is dependent on the interaction of p300 and CARM1 with the AD1 and AD2 domains of GRIP1, respectively. This suggests the formation of a ternary coactivator complex on the MMP-9 promoter. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays demonstrate that these coactivators associate with the endogenous MMP-9 promoter, and that siRNA knockdown of expression of these coactivators reduces endogenous MMP-9 expression. Taken together, these studies demonstrate a new level of transcriptional regulation of MMP-9 expression by the cooperative action of coactivators.
PMCID: PMC2748421  PMID: 18790699
CARM1; p300; GRIP1; MMP-9; transcription
25.  Overexpression of CARM1 in breast cancer is correlated with poorly characterized clinicopathologic parameters and molecular subtypes 
Diagnostic Pathology  2013;8:129.
Coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1) belongs to the protein arginine methyltransferase family. CARM1 has been reported to be associated with high grade tumors in breast cancer. It still remains unknown the expression pattern of CARM1 in breast cancer and its relationships with clinicopathological characteristics and molecular subtypes.
Two hundred forty-seven invasive breast cancer cases were collected and prepared for tissue array. There were thirty-seven tumors with benign glandular epithelium adjacent to the tumors among these cases. Molecular subtype and CARM1 expression were investigated using immunohistochemistry.
Cell staining was observed in the cytoplasm and/or nucleus. Staining for CARM1 was significantly stronger in adenocarcinoma compared with adjacent benign epithelium. There is a significant correlation between CARM1 overexpression with young age, high grade, estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) negative, increased p53 expression, and high Ki-67 index. Our study demonstrated CARM1 overexpression was associated with an increase in the protein expression of HER2. Furthermore, our data indicated CARM1-overexpression rate were remarkably higher in HER2 subtype (69.6%), luminal B subtype (59.6%) and TN subtype (57.1%) compared with luminal A subtype (41.3%).
CARM1 expression was increased in invasive breast cancer. CARM1 overexpression was associated with poorly characterized clinicopathologic parameters and HER2 overexpression. There were significant differences between different molecular subtypes in their relationship to CARM1 overexpression. Our results support the value of using CARM1 in prognostic stratification of breast cancer patients and its potential therapeutic implications in targeting treatment.
Virtual slides
The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here:
PMCID: PMC3766166  PMID: 23915145
CARM1; Breast cancer; Clinicopathologic parameters; HER2; Molecular subtype

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