Congratulations to Shenqing Zhang!

Congratulations to Shenqing Zhang for publishing their work in PNAS! 

Abstract: Protein arginine methylation plays an important role in regulating protein functions in different cellular processes, and its dysregulation may lead to a variety of human diseases. Recently, arginine methylation was found to be involved in modulating protein liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS), which drives the formation of different membraneless organelles (MLOs). Here, we developed a steric effect-based chemical-enrichment method (SECEM) coupled with liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry to analyze arginine dimethylation (DMA) at the proteome level. We revealed by SECEM that, in mammalian cells, the DMA sites occurring in the RG/RGG motifs are preferentially enriched within the proteins identified in different MLOs, especially stress granules (SGs). Notably, global decrease of protein arginine methylation severely impairs the dynamic assembly and disassembly of SGs. By further profiling the dynamic change of DMA upon SG formation by SECEM, we identified that the most dramatic change of DMA occurs at multiple sites of RG/RGG-rich regions from several key SG-contained proteins, including G3BP1, FUS, hnRNPA1, and KHDRBS1. Moreover, both in vitro arginine methylation and mutation of the identified DMA sites significantly impair LLPS capability of the four different RG/RGG-rich regions. Overall, we provide a global profiling of the dynamic changes of protein DMA in the mammalian cells under different stress conditions by SECEM and reveal the important role of DMA in regulating protein LLPS and SG dynamics.

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