Eukaryotic mRNA processing and export are mediated by a series of complexes composed of heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoproteins (hnRNPs). Many of these hnRNPs are methylated at arginine residues within their RGG domains. Although cellular arginine methylation is required for the efficient nuclear export of several hnRNPs, its role in this process is unknown. To address this question, we replaced the methylated RGG tripeptides of two hnRNPs, Npl3p and Hrp1p, with KGG. We found that these substitutions specifically abolish their methylation but have different effects on their nuclear export activity. Although the efficient export of Hrp1p requires cellular methyltransferase activity, the modification of Hrp1p itself is dispensable. In contrast, we found that Npl3 arginine methylation not only facilitates its own export but also is required for Hrp1p to efficiently exit the nucleus. Consistent with this observation, we found that Npl3p and Hrp1p exist in a ribonucleoprotein complex. We provide the first evidence that the arginine methylation of a particular protein directly affects its activity. Efficient export does not require methylation per se, but unmethylated arginine residues lead to retention of hnRNPs. Thus, arginine methylation serves to mask the Npl3p RGG domain for efficient ribonucleoprotein export.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||Molecular and Cellular Biology|
|State||Published - Dec 2004|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology