Gene Summary

Gene:CARM1; coactivator associated arginine methyltransferase 1
Aliases: PRMT4
Summary:This gene belongs to the protein arginine methyltransferase (PRMT) family. The encoded enzyme catalyzes the methylation of guanidino nitrogens of arginyl residues of proteins. The enzyme acts specifically on histones and other chromatin-associated proteins and is involved in regulation of gene expression. The enzyme may act in association with other proteins or within multi-protein complexes and may play a role in cell type-specific functions and cell lineage specification. A related pseudogene is located on chromosome 9. [provided by RefSeq, Aug 2013]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:histone-arginine methyltransferase CARM1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 11 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (32)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 12 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Staging
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Nuclear Receptor Coactivator 2
  • Arginine
  • beta Catenin
  • Cytoplasm
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Prostate Cancer
  • p300-CBP Transcription Factors
  • Histones
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Chromosome 19
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Western Blotting
  • Methylation
  • Transcription Factors
  • Signal Transduction
  • Cell Nucleus
  • Protein Binding
  • Promoter Regions
  • Chromatin Immunoprecipitation
  • DNA Polymerase II
  • Epigenetics
  • Estradiol
  • Tissue Array Analysis
  • Androgen Receptors
  • Protein-Arginine N-Methyltransferases
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • Receptor, erbB-2
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Gene Enhancer Elements
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Transcription
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Breast Cancer
  • p53 Protein
  • Protein Interaction Mapping
Tag cloud generated 11 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (2)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: CARM1 (cancer-related)

Shlensky D, Mirrielees JA, Zhao Z, et al.
Differential CARM1 Isoform Expression in Subcellular Compartments and among Malignant and Benign Breast Tumors.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(6):e0128143 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: Coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1) is a coactivator for ERα and cancer-relevant transcription factors, and can methylate diverse cellular targets including histones. CARM1 is expressed in one of two alternative splice isoforms, full-length CARM1 (CARM1FL) and truncated CARM1 (CARM1ΔE15). CARM1FL and CARM1ΔE15 function differently in transcriptional regulation, protein methylation, and mediation of pre-mRNA splicing in cellular models.
METHODS: To investigate the functional roles and the prognosis potential of CARM1 alternative spliced isoforms in breast cancer, we used recently developed antibodies to detect differential CARM1 isoform expression in subcellular compartments and among malignant and benign breast tumors.
RESULTS: Immunofluorescence in MDA-MB-231 and BG-1 cell lines demonstrated that CARM1ΔE15 is the dominant isoform expressed in the cytoplasm, and CARM1FL is more nuclear localized. CARM1ΔE15 was found to be more sensitive to Hsp90 inhibition than CARM1FL, indicating that the truncated isoform may be the oncogenic form. Clinical cancer samples did not have significantly higher expression of CARM1FL or CARM1ΔE15 than benign breast samples at the level of mRNA or histology. Furthermore neither CARM1FL nor CARM1ΔE15 expression correlated with breast cancer molecular subtypes, tumor size, or lymph node involvement.
CONCLUSIONS: The analysis presented here lends new insights into the possible oncogenic role of CARM1ΔE15. This study also demonstrates no obvious association of CARM1 isoform expression and clinical correlates in breast cancer. Recent studies, however, have shown that CARM1 expression correlates with poor prognosis, indicating a need for further studies of both CARM1 isoforms in a large cohort of breast cancer specimens.

Yan F, Yu Y, Chow DC, et al.
Identification of verrucarin a as a potent and selective steroid receptor coactivator-3 small molecule inhibitor.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(4):e95243 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Members of the steroid receptor coactivator (SRC) family are overexpressed in numerous types of cancers. In particular, steroid receptor coactivator 3 (SRC-3) has been recognized as a critical coactivator associated with tumor initiation, progression, recurrence, metastasis, and chemoresistance where it interacts with multiple nuclear receptors and other transcription factors to enhance their transcriptional activities and facilitate cross-talk between pathways that stimulate cancer progression. Because of its central role as an integrator of growth signaling pathways, development of small molecule inhibitors (SMIs) against SRCs have the potential to simultaneously disrupt multiple signal transduction networks and transcription factors involved in tumor progression. Here, high-throughput screening was performed to identify compounds able to inhibit the intrinsic transcriptional activities of the three members of the SRC family. Verrucarin A was identified as a SMI that can selectively promote the degradation of the SRC-3 protein, while affecting SRC-1 and SRC-2 to a lesser extent and having no impact on CARM-1 and p300 protein levels. Verrucarin A was cytotoxic toward multiple types of cancer cells at low nanomolar concentrations, but not toward normal liver cells. Moreover, verrucarin A was able to inhibit expression of the SRC-3 target genes MMP2 and MMP13 and attenuated cancer cell migration. We found that verrucarin A effectively sensitized cancer cells to treatment with other anti-cancer drugs. Binding studies revealed that verrucarin A does not bind directly to SRC-3, suggesting that it inhibits SRC-3 through its interaction with an upstream effector. In conclusion, unlike other SRC SMIs characterized by our laboratory that directly bind to SRCs, verrucarin A is a potent and selective SMI that blocks SRC-3 function through an indirect mechanism.

Wang L, Zhao Z, Meyer MB, et al.
CARM1 methylates chromatin remodeling factor BAF155 to enhance tumor progression and metastasis.
Cancer Cell. 2014; 25(1):21-36 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1), a coactivator for various cancer-relevant transcription factors, is overexpressed in breast cancer. To elucidate the functions of CARM1 in tumorigenesis, we knocked out CARM1 from several breast cancer cell lines using Zinc-Finger Nuclease technology, which resulted in drastic phenotypic and biochemical changes. The CARM1 KO cell lines enabled identification of CARM1 substrates, notably the SWI/SNF core subunit BAF155. Methylation of BAF155 at R1064 was found to be an independent prognostic biomarker for cancer recurrence and to regulate breast cancer cell migration and metastasis. Furthermore, CARM1-mediated BAF155 methylation affects gene expression by directing methylated BAF155 to unique chromatin regions (e.g., c-Myc pathway genes). Collectively, our studies uncover a mechanism by which BAF155 acquires tumorigenic functions via arginine methylation.

Wang X, Roberts CW
CARMA: CARM1 methylation of SWI/SNF in breast cancer.
Cancer Cell. 2014; 25(1):3-4 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In this issue of Cancer Cell, Wang and colleagues report that CARM1, a protein arginine methyltransferase, specifically methylates BAF155/SMARCC1, a core subunit of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling/tumor suppressor complex. This modification facilitates the targeting of BAF155 to genes of the c-Myc pathway and enhances breast cancer progression and metastasis.

Stefansson OA, Esteller M
CARM1 and BAF155: an example of how chromatin remodeling factors can be relocalized and contribute to cancer.
Breast Cancer Res. 2014; 16(3):307 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In a recent article, Wang and colleagues reported the discovery of a mechanism by which CARM1 regulates the genomic localization of BAF155 (a SWI/SNF subunit involved in chromatin remodeling) through post-translational methylation at R1064 arginine residues. This modification leads to the relocalization of BAF155-containing SWI/SNF complexes to regions containing genes involved in the Myc oncogenic pathway. The results presented are evidence that these interactions constitute a mechanism by which the BAF155 chromatin remodeling factor contributes to cancer.

Elakoum R, Gauchotte G, Oussalah A, et al.
CARM1 and PRMT1 are dysregulated in lung cancer without hierarchical features.
Biochimie. 2014; 97:210-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
CARM1 and PRMT1 are 2 Protein Arginine Methyl Transferases (PRMT) dysregulated in cancer. CARM1 function is contradictory and depicted as facilitating proliferation or differentiation. PRMT1 is required for cell proliferation. CARM1 and PRMT1 cooperate for gene regulation. We report that CARM1 and PRMT1 are significantly overexpressed in 60 patients with Non-Small Cell Lung Carcinomas (NSCLC). CARM1 and PRMT1 correlated in healthy but not tumor tissue. Their levels of expression in tumor tissue were proportional to their levels of expression in the counterpart healthy tissue. Only CARM1 expression was found to be correlated with tumor differentiation and neither CARM1 nor PRMT1 expression was correlated with survival. Accordingly, CARM1 and PRMT1 are overexpressed in 2 NSCLC cell lines, A549 and H1299. Targeting PRMT1 with siRNA reduced proliferation, by decreasing cell growth and inhibiting soft agar colony formation, and promoted differentiation, by increasing the epithelial markers cytokeratin 7 and 8 and decreasing Neuromedin B receptor, which binds a mitogenic factor. siCARM1 yielded similar consequences but the conditions with siCARM1 reflected inhibition of both CARM1 and PRMT1. Together these results suggest that CARM1 and PRMT1 are involved in proliferation in lung cancer with no hierarchy of one protein over the other. The fact that CARM1 targeting suppresses PRMT1 in addition to CARM1 reinforces the functional importance of CARM1/PRMT1 interaction.

Lee E, Madar A, David G, et al.
Inhibition of androgen receptor and β-catenin activity in prostate cancer.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013; 110(39):15710-5 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Androgen receptor (AR) is the major therapeutic target in aggressive prostate cancer. However, targeting AR alone can result in drug resistance and disease recurrence. Therefore, simultaneous targeting of multiple pathways could in principle be an effective approach to treating prostate cancer. Here we provide proof-of-concept that a small-molecule inhibitor of nuclear β-catenin activity (called C3) can inhibit both the AR and β-catenin-signaling pathways that are often misregulated in prostate cancer. Treatment with C3 ablated prostate cancer cell growth by disruption of both β-catenin/T-cell factor and β-catenin/AR protein interaction, reflecting the fact that T-cell factor and AR have overlapping binding sites on β-catenin. Given that AR interacts with, and is transcriptionally regulated by β-catenin, C3 treatment also resulted in decreased occupancy of β-catenin on the AR promoter and diminished AR and AR/β-catenin target gene expression. Interestingly, C3 treatment resulted in decreased AR binding to target genes accompanied by decreased recruitment of an AR and β-catenin cofactor, coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1), providing insight into the unrecognized function of β-catenin in prostate cancer. Importantly, C3 inhibited tumor growth in an in vivo xenograft model and blocked renewal of bicalutamide-resistant sphere-forming cells, indicating the therapeutic potential of this approach.

Habashy HO, Rakha EA, Ellis IO, Powe DG
The oestrogen receptor coactivator CARM1 has an oncogenic effect and is associated with poor prognosis in breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2013; 140(2):307-16 [PubMed] Related Publications
The coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase-1 (CARM1) is implicated in regulation of oestrogen receptor (ER) α-mediated gene pathways in response to ER activation. It plays an important role in breast cancer growth by regulating the E2F1 expression suggesting that CARM1 could be a target in the subclassification of oestrogen-dependent breast cancer. This study aims to investigate the clinical and biological importance of CARM1 protein expression in a large (1,130 patients), well-characterised and annotated series of invasive breast cancers using tissue microarrays and immunohistochemistry. In the whole series, increased CARM1 expression is correlated with features associated with aggressive behaviour such as young age, premenopausal status, large tumour size and high tumour grade. There is a positive correlation between CARM1 expression and biomarkers associated with non-luminal phenotype and poor prognosis such as HER2, basal cytokeratins, EGFR, p53 and the proliferation markers Ki67, TK1, CD71 and Cyclin E. Negative associations with the luminal-associated markers including steroid receptors and luminal cytokeratins are found. Similar associations are identified in the ER-positive/luminal subgroup (n = 767). Outcome analyses indicate that CARM1 expression is an independent predictor of shorter breast cancer-specific survival and disease-free interval in the whole series and in the ER-positive subgroup. CARM1 shows an oncogenic effect in breast cancer and its expression is associated with poor prognosis. CARM1 could be a potential marker of luminal class subclassification and for target therapy, particularly in the ER-positive luminal-like subgroup.

Davis MB, Liu X, Wang S, et al.
Expression and sub-cellular localization of an epigenetic regulator, co-activator arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1), is associated with specific breast cancer subtypes and ethnicity.
Mol Cancer. 2013; 12(1):40 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: 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.
METHODS: 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.
RESULTS: 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.
CONCLUSIONS: 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.

Zeng H, Wu J, Bedford MT, et al.
A TR-FRET-based functional assay for screening activators of CARM1.
Chembiochem. 2013; 14(7):827-35 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Epigenetics 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 methyltransferase 1 (CARM1) is a coactivator of estrogen receptor α (ERα), the main target in human breast cancer. We previously showed that twofold overexpression of CARM1 in MCF7 breast cancer cells increased the expression of ERα-target genes involved in differentiation and reduced cell proliferation, thus leading to the hypothesis that activating CARM1 by chemical activators might 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 (TR) FRET assay that uses poly(A) binding protein 1 (PABP1) methylation to monitor cellular activity of CARM1. The LanthaScreen TR-FRET assay uses MCF7 cells expressing GFP-PABP1 fusion protein through BacMam gene delivery system, methyl-PABP1 specific antibody, and terbium-labeled secondary antibody. This assay has been validated as reflecting 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.

Mann M, Cortez V, Vadlamudi R
PELP1 oncogenic functions involve CARM1 regulation.
Carcinogenesis. 2013; 34(7):1468-75 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) is implicated in the initiation and progression of breast cancer and its transcription depends on the modulation of epigenetic changes at target gene promoters via coregulators. There is a critical need to understand the molecular mechanism(s) by which deregulation of epigenetic changes occurs during breast cancer progression. The ERα coregulator PELP1 plays an important role in ERα signaling and is a proto-oncogene with aberrant expression in breast cancer. PELP1 interacts with histones and may be a reader of chromatin modifications. We profiled PELP1's epigenetic interactome using a histone peptide array. Our results show that PELP1 recognizes histones modified by arginine and lysine dimethylation. PELP1 functionally interacts with the arginine methyltransferase CARM1 and their interaction is enhanced by ERα. PELP1-CARM1 interactions synergistically enhance ERα transactivation. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays revealed that PELP1 alters histone H3 arginine methylation status at ERα target gene promoters. Pharmacological inhibition or small interfering RNA knockdown of CARM1 substantially reduced PELP1 oncogenic functions. The critical role of PELP1 status in modulating arginine methylation status was also observed through in vivo studies where PELP1 knockdown mediated decreased tumorigenesis correlated with decreased arginine dimethylation. Further, immunohistochemical analysis of human breast tumor tissues revealed co-overexpression of PELP1 and CARM1 in a subset of ERα-positive breast tumors. Our findings show PELP1 is a reader of histone arginine methyl modifications and deregulation promotes tumor proliferation via epigenetic alterations at ERα target promoters. Targeting these epigenetic alterations through inhibition of PELP1 and the arginine methyltransferases could be a promising cancer therapeutic.

Coughlan N, Thillainadesan G, Andrews J, et al.
β-Estradiol-dependent activation of the JAK/STAT pathway requires p/CIP and CARM1.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013; 1833(6):1463-75 [PubMed] Related Publications
The steroid receptor coactivator p/CIP, also known as SRC-3, is an oncogene commonly amplified in breast and ovarian cancers. p/CIP is known to associate with coactivator arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1) on select estrogen responsive genes. We have shown, using a ChIP-on-chip approach, that in response to stimulation with 17β-estradiol (E2), the p/CIP/CARM1 complex is recruited to 204 proximal promoters in MCF-7 cells. Many of the complex target genes have been previously implicated in signaling pathways related to oncogenesis. Jak2, a member of the Jak/Stat signaling cascade, is one of the direct E2-dependent targets of the p/CIP/CARM1 complex. Following E2-treatment, histone modifications at the Jak2 promoter are reflective of a transcriptionally permissive gene, and modest changes in RNA and protein expression lead us to suggest that an additional factor(s) may be required for a more notable transcriptional and functional response. Bioinformatic examination of the 204 proximal promoter sequences of p/CIP/CARM1 targets supports the idea that transcription factor crosstalk is likely the favored mechanism of E2-dependent p/CIP/CARM1 complex recruitment. This data may have implications towards understanding the oncogenic role of p/CIP in breast cancer and ultimately allow for the identification of new prognostic indicators and/or viable therapeutic targets.

Sanders DA, Ross-Innes CS, Beraldi D, et al.
Genome-wide mapping of FOXM1 binding reveals co-binding with estrogen receptor alpha in breast cancer cells.
Genome Biol. 2013; 14(1):R6 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The forkhead transcription factor FOXM1 is a key regulator of the cell cycle. It is frequently over-expressed in cancer and is emerging as an important therapeutic target. In breast cancer FOXM1 expression is linked with estrogen receptor (ERα) activity and resistance to endocrine therapies, with high levels correlated with poor prognosis. However, the precise role of FOXM1 in ER positive breast cancer is not yet fully understood.
RESULTS: The study utilizes chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by high-throughput sequencing to map FOXM1 binding in both ERα-positive and -negative breast cancer cell lines. The comparison between binding site distributions in the two cell lines uncovered a previously undescribed relationship between binding of FOXM1 and ERα. Further molecular analyses demonstrated that these two factors can bind simultaneously at genomic sites and furthermore that FOXM1 regulates the transcriptional activity of ERα via interaction with the coactivator CARM1. Inhibition of FOXM1 activity using the natural product thiostrepton revealed down-regulation of a set of FOXM1-regulated genes that are correlated with patient outcome in clinical breast cancer samples.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings reveal a novel role for FOXM1 in ERα transcriptional activity in breast cancer and uncover a FOXM1-regulated gene signature associated with ER-positive breast cancer patient prognosis.

Huang Y, Kesselman D, Kizub D, et al.
Phospho-ΔNp63α/microRNA feedback regulation in squamous carcinoma cells upon cisplatin exposure.
Cell Cycle. 2013; 12(4):684-97 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Our previous reports showed that the cisplatin exposure induced the ATM-dependent phosphorylation of ΔNp63a, which is subsequently involved in transcriptional regulation of gene promoters encoding mRNAs and microRNAs in squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) cells upon cisplatin-induced cell death. We showed that phosphorylated (p)-ΔNp63a plays a role in upregulation of pro-apoptotic proteins, while non-p-ΔNp63a is implicated in pro-survival signaling. In contrast to non-p-ΔNp63a, p-ΔNp63a modulated expression of specific microRNAs in SCC cells exposed to cisplatin. These microRNAs were shown to attenuate the expression of several proteins involved in cell death/survival, suggesting the critical role for p-ΔNp63a in regulation of tumor cell resistance to cisplatin. Here, we studied the function of ΔNp63a in transcriptional activation and repression of the specific microRNA promoters whose expression is affected by cisplatin treatment of SCC cells. We quantitatively studied chromatin-associated proteins bound to tumor protein (TP) p63-responsive element, we found that p-ΔNp63a along with certain transcription coactivators (e.g., CARM1, KAT2B, TFAP2A, etc.) necessary to induce gene promoters for microRNAs (630 and 885-3p) or with transcription corepressors (e.g., EZH2, CTBP1, HDACs, etc.) needed to repress promoters for microRNAs (181a-5p, 374a-5p and 519a-3p) in SCC cells exposed to cisplatin.

Limm K, Ott C, Wallner S, et al.
Deregulation of protein methylation in melanoma.
Eur J Cancer. 2013; 49(6):1305-13 [PubMed] Related Publications
Loss of methylthioadenosine phosphorylase (MTAP) expression and a concomitant accumulation of 5'-methyl-thioadenosine (MTA) characterise several tumour entities including malignant melanoma. MTA affects cellular signalling, proliferation and migration not only of cancer but also surrounding cells including lymphocytes and stromal fibroblasts. The mode of action of MTA is still not known. Interestingly, MTA is a known potent inhibitor of protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) and is used as a tool in studying activity and impact of PRMTs. This study aimed at analysing PRMTs in melanoma and the potential impact of MTA on tumourigenesis. Our findings demonstrate that expression of PRMT4/CARM1 and PRMT6 is deregulated in melanoma, whereas expression of the remaining PRMTs stays unchanged. General PRMT activity and, consequently, symmetric and asymmetric protein methylation are reduced significantly in melanoma cells and tissues. This is due to a loss of MTAP expression and accumulation of MTA. Reduction of protein methylation by MTA affects cell signalling and leads, for example, to an activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activity. The effects of endogeneous MTA on PRMTs as presented in this study can strongly support the migratory and invasive phenotype of melanoma cells.

Li Y, Low HQ, Foo JN, et al.
Genetic variants in ER cofactor genes and endometrial cancer risk.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(8):e42445 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Given that the transcriptional regulatory activity of estrogen receptor (ER) is modulated by its biochemical cofactors, genetic variation within the ER cofactor genes may alter cellular response to estrogen exposure and consequently modify the risk for endometrial cancer. We genotyped 685 tagging SNPs within 60 ER cofactor genes in 564 endometrial cancer cases and 1,510 controls from Sweden, and tested their associations with the risk of endometrial cancer. We investigated the associations of individual SNPs by using a trend test as well as multiple SNPs within a gene or gene complex by using multi-variant association analysis. No significant association was observed for any individual SNPs or genes, but a marginal association of the cumulative genetic variation of the NCOA2 complex as a whole (NCOA2, CARM1, CREBBP, PRMT1 and EP300) with endometrial cancer risk was observed (P(adjusted) = 0.033). However, the association failed to be replicated in an independent European dataset of 1265 cases and 5190 controls (P = 0.71). The results indicate that common genetic variants within ER cofactor genes are unlikely to play a significant role in endometrial cancer risk in European population.

Hsu CH, Peng KL, Jhang HC, et al.
The HPV E6 oncoprotein targets histone methyltransferases for modulating specific gene transcription.
Oncogene. 2012; 31(18):2335-49 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Expression of viral proteins causes important epigenetic changes leading to abnormal cell growth. Whether viral proteins directly target histone methyltransferases (HMTs), a key family enzyme for epigenetic regulation, and modulate their enzymatic activities remains elusive. Here we show that the E6 proteins of both low-risk and high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) interact with three coactivator HMTs, CARM1, PRMT1 and SET7, and downregulate their enzymatic activities in vitro and in HPV-transformed HeLa cells. Furthermore, these three HMTs are required for E6 to attenuate p53 transactivation function. Mechanistically, E6 hampers CARM1- and PRMT1-catalyzed histone methylation at p53-responsive promoters, and suppresses the binding of p53 to chromatinized DNA independently of E6-mediated p53 degradation. p53 pre-methylated at lysine-372 (p53K372 mono-methylation) by SET7 protects p53 from E6-induced degradation. Consistently, E6 downregulates p53K372 mono-methylation and thus reduces p53 protein stability. As a result of the E6-mediated inhibition of HMT activity, expression of p53 downstream genes is suppressed. Together, our results not only reveal a clever approach for the virus to interfere with p53 function, but also demonstrate the modulation of HMT activity as a novel mechanism of epigenetic regulation by a viral oncoprotein.

Ou CY, LaBonte MJ, Manegold PC, et al.
A coactivator role of CARM1 in the dysregulation of β-catenin activity in colorectal cancer cell growth and gene expression.
Mol Cancer Res. 2011; 9(5):660-70 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Aberrant activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling, resulting in the expression of Wnt-regulated oncogenes, is recognized as a critical factor in the etiology of colorectal cancer. Occupancy of β-catenin at promoters of Wnt target genes drives transcription, but the mechanism of β-catenin action remains poorly understood. Here, we show that CARM1 (coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1) interacts with β-catenin and positively modulates β-catenin-mediated gene expression. In colorectal cancer cells with constitutively high Wnt/β-catenin activity, depletion of CARM1 inhibits expression of endogenous Wnt/β-catenin target genes and suppresses clonal survival and anchorage-independent growth. We also identified a colorectal cancer cell line (RKO) with a low basal level of β-catenin, which is dramatically elevated by treatment with Wnt3a. Wnt3a also increased the expression of a subset of endogenous Wnt target genes, and CARM1 was required for the Wnt-induced expression of these target genes and the accompanying dimethylation of arginine 17 of histone H3. Depletion of β-catenin from RKO cells diminished the Wnt-induced occupancy of CARM1 on a Wnt target gene, indicating that CARM1 is recruited to Wnt target genes through its interaction with β-catenin and contributes to transcriptional activation by mediating events (including histone H3 methylation) that are downstream from the actions of β-catenin. Therefore, CARM1 is an important positive modulator of Wnt/β-catenin transcription and neoplastic transformation, and may thereby represent a novel target for therapeutic intervention in cancers involving aberrantly activated Wnt/β-catenin signaling.

Al-Dhaheri M, Wu J, Skliris GP, et al.
CARM1 is an important determinant of ERα-dependent breast cancer cell differentiation and proliferation in breast cancer cells.
Cancer Res. 2011; 71(6):2118-28 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Breast cancers with estrogen receptor α (ERα) expression are often more differentiated histologically than ERα-negative tumors, but the reasons for this difference are poorly understood. One possible explanation is that transcriptional cofactors 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 coactivator of ERα that can simultaneously block cell proliferation and induce differentiation through global regulation of ERα-regulated genes. CARM1 was evidenced as an ERα coactivator in cell-based assays, gene expression microarrays, and mouse xenograft models. In human breast tumors, CARM1 expression positively correlated with ERα levels in ER-positive tumors but was inversely correlated with tumor grade. Our findings suggest that coexpression of CARM1 and ERα may provide a better biomarker of well-differentiated breast cancer. Furthermore, our findings define an important functional role of this histone arginine methyltransferase in reprogramming ERα-regulated cellular processes, implicating CARM1 as a putative epigenetic target in ER-positive breast cancers.

Kim YR, Lee BK, Park RY, et al.
Differential CARM1 expression in prostate and colorectal cancers.
BMC Cancer. 2010; 10:197 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: 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.
METHODS: 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.
RESULTS: 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-kappaB target gene transcription.
CONCLUSIONS: 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.

Gao X, Pan WS, Dai H, et al.
CARM1 activates myogenin gene via PCAF in the early differentiation of TPA-induced rhabdomyosarcoma-derived cells.
J Cell Biochem. 2010; 110(1):162-70 [PubMed] Related Publications
CARM1/PRMT4 is a member of the protein arginine methyltransferase (PRMT) family. CARM1 as a transcriptional coactivator plays an active role on mammalian genes. Here, we show that CARM1 can be recruited to the promoter of myogenin gene to enhance its transcriptional activation via PCAF at the early stage of TPA-induced RD cell differentiation. By adding adenosine dialdehyde, AdOx, to inhibit the PRMT in RD cells, the TPA-induced recruiting of p300, PCAF and the Brg1 at the myogenin promoter is abolished and myogenic differentiation is blocked. More specifically, the expression of PCAF and its nucleation are prohibited when CARM1 is knockdown by its specific siRNA. We suggest that the physical interaction of CARM1 and PCAF is likely pivotal for the activation of PCAF in the downstream of CARM1 pathway for inducing myogenin under TPA-induced differentiation. The findings shed lights on novel therapeutic targets in the treatment of rhabdomyosarcoma patients.

Lupien M, Eeckhoute J, Meyer CA, et al.
Coactivator function defines the active estrogen receptor alpha cistrome.
Mol Cell Biol. 2009; 29(12):3413-23 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Proper activation of transcriptional networks in complex organisms is central to the response to stimuli. We demonstrate that the selective activation of a subset of the estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha) cistrome in MCF7 breast cancer cells provides specificity to the estradiol (E2) response. ERalpha-specific enhancers that are subject to E2-induced coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1) action are critical to E2-stimulated gene expression. This is true for both FoxA1-dependent and independent enhancers. In contrast, a subset of E2-suppressed genes are controlled by FoxA1-independent ERalpha binding sites. Nonetheless, these are sites of E2-induced CARM1 activity. In addition, the MCF7 RNA polymerase II cistrome reveals preferential occupancy of E2-regulated promoters prior to stimulation. Interestingly, E2-suppressed genes tend to lie in otherwise silent genomic regions. Together, our results suggest that the transcriptional response to E2 in breast cancer cells is dependent on the interplay between polymerase II pre-occupied promoters and the subset of the ERalpha cistrome associated with coactivation.

Shirley SH, Rundhaug JE, Tian J, et al.
Transcriptional regulation of estrogen receptor-alpha by p53 in human breast cancer cells.
Cancer Res. 2009; 69(8):3405-14 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Estrogen receptor alpha (ER) and p53 are critical prognostic indicators in breast cancer. Loss of functional p53 is correlated with poor prognosis, ER negativity, and resistance to antiestrogen treatment. Previously, we found that p53 genotype was correlated with ER expression and response to tamoxifen in mammary tumors arising in mouse mammary tumor virus-Wnt-1 transgenic mice. These results lead us to hypothesize that p53 may regulate ER expression. To test this, MCF-7 cells were treated with doxorubicin or ionizing radiation, both of which stimulated a 5-fold increase in p53 expression. ER expression was also increased 4-fold over a 24-h time frame. In cells treated with small interfering RNA (siRNA) targeting p53, expression of both p53 and ER was significantly reduced (>60%) by 24 h. Induction of ER by DNA-damaging agents was p53 dependent as either ionizing radiation or doxorubicin failed to up-regulate ER after treatment with p53-targeting siRNA. To further investigate whether p53 directly regulates transcription of the ER gene promoter, MCF-7 cells were transiently transfected with a wild-type (WT) p53 expression vector along with a luciferase reporter containing the proximal promoter of ER. In cells transfected with WT p53, transcription from the ER promoter was increased 8-fold. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays showed that p53 was recruited to the ER promoter along with CARM1, CBP, c-Jun, and Sp1 and that this multifactor complex was formed in a p53-dependent manner. These data show that p53 regulates ER expression through transcriptional control of the ER promoter, accounting for their concordant expression in human breast cancer.

Haiman CA, Garcia RR, Hsu C, et al.
Screening and association testing of common coding variation in steroid hormone receptor co-activator and co-repressor genes in relation to breast cancer risk: the Multiethnic Cohort.
BMC Cancer. 2009; 9:43 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Only a limited number of studies have performed comprehensive investigations of coding variation in relation to breast cancer risk. Given the established role of estrogens in breast cancer, we hypothesized that coding variation in steroid receptor coactivator and corepressor genes may alter inter-individual response to estrogen and serve as markers of breast cancer risk.
METHODS: We sequenced the coding exons of 17 genes (EP300, CCND1, NME1, NCOA1, NCOA2, NCOA3, SMARCA4, SMARCA2, CARM1, FOXA1, MPG, NCOR1, NCOR2, CALCOCO1, PRMT1, PPARBP and CREBBP) suggested to influence transcriptional activation by steroid hormone receptors in a multiethnic panel of women with advanced breast cancer (n = 95): African Americans, Latinos, Japanese, Native Hawaiians and European Americans. Association testing of validated coding variants was conducted in a breast cancer case-control study (1,612 invasive cases and 1,961 controls) nested in the Multiethnic Cohort. We used logistic regression to estimate odds ratios for allelic effects in ethnic-pooled analyses as well as in subgroups defined by disease stage and steroid hormone receptor status. We also investigated effect modification by established breast cancer risk factors that are associated with steroid hormone exposure.
RESULTS: We identified 45 coding variants with frequencies > or = 1% in any one ethnic group (43 non-synonymous variants). We observed nominally significant positive associations with two coding variants in ethnic-pooled analyses (NCOR2: His52Arg, OR = 1.79; 95% CI, 1.05-3.05; CALCOCO1: Arg12His, OR = 2.29; 95% CI, 1.00-5.26). A small number of variants were associated with risk in disease subgroup analyses and we observed no strong evidence of effect modification by breast cancer risk factors. Based on the large number of statistical tests conducted in this study, the nominally significant associations that we observed may be due to chance, and will need to be confirmed in other studies.
CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that common coding variation in these candidate genes do not make a substantial contribution to breast cancer risk in the general population. Cataloging and testing of coding variants in coactivator and corepressor genes should continue and may serve as a valuable resource for investigations of other hormone-related phenotypes, such as inter-individual response to hormonal therapies used for cancer treatment and prevention.

Oh AS, Lahusen JT, Chien CD, et al.
Tyrosine phosphorylation of the nuclear receptor coactivator AIB1/SRC-3 is enhanced by Abl kinase and is required for its activity in cancer cells.
Mol Cell Biol. 2008; 28(21):6580-93 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Overexpression and activation of the steroid receptor coactivator amplified in breast cancer 1 (AIB1)/steroid receptor coactivator-3 (SRC-3) have been shown to have a critical role in oncogenesis and are required for both steroid and growth factor signaling in epithelial tumors. Here, we report a new mechanism for activation of SRC coactivators. We demonstrate regulated tyrosine phosphorylation of AIB1/SRC-3 at a C-terminal tyrosine residue (Y1357) that is phosphorylated after insulin-like growth factor 1, epidermal growth factor, or estrogen treatment of breast cancer cells. Phosphorylated Y1357 is increased in HER2/neu (v-erb-b2 erythroblastic leukemia viral oncogene homolog 2) mammary tumor epithelia and is required to modulate AIB1/SRC-3 coactivation of estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha), progesterone receptor B, NF-kappaB, and AP-1-dependent promoters. c-Abl (v-Abl Abelson murine leukemia viral oncogene homolog 1) tyrosine kinase directly phosphorylates AIB1/SRC-3 at Y1357 and modulates the association of AIB1 with c-Abl, ERalpha, the transcriptional cofactor p300, and the methyltransferase coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1, CARM1. AIB1/SRC-3-dependent transcription and phenotypic changes, such as cell growth and focus formation, can be reversed by an Abl kinase inhibitor, imatinib. Thus, the phosphorylation state of Y1357 can function as a molecular on/off switch and facilitates the cross talk between hormone, growth factor, and intracellular kinase signaling pathways in cancer.

Frietze S, Lupien M, Silver PA, Brown M
CARM1 regulates estrogen-stimulated breast cancer growth through up-regulation of E2F1.
Cancer Res. 2008; 68(1):301-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Estrogen receptor alpha (ER alpha) mediates breast cancer proliferation through transcriptional mechanisms involving the recruitment of specific coregulator complexes to the promoters of cell cycle genes. The coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase CARM1 is a positive regulator of ER alpha-mediated transcriptional activation. Here, we show that CARM1 is essential for estrogen-induced cell cycle progression in the MCF-7 breast cancer cell line. CARM1 is specifically required for the estrogen-induced expression of the critical cell cycle transcriptional regulator E2F1 whereas estrogen stimulation of cyclin D1 is CARM1 independent. Upon estrogen stimulation, the E2F1 promoter is subject to CARM1-dependent dimethylation on histone H3 arginine 17 (H3R17me2) in a process that parallels the recruitment of ER alpha. Additionally, we find that the recruitment of CARM1 and subsequent histone arginine dimethylation are dependent on the presence of the oncogenic coactivator AIB1. Thus, CARM1 is a critical factor in the pathway of estrogen-stimulated breast cancer growth downstream of ER alpha and AIB1 and upstream of the cell cycle regulatory transcription factor E2F1. These studies identify CARM1 as a potential new target in the treatment of estrogen-dependent breast cancer.

Cascio S, Bartella V, Garofalo C, et al.
Insulin-like growth factor 1 differentially regulates estrogen receptor-dependent transcription at estrogen response element and AP-1 sites in breast cancer cells.
J Biol Chem. 2007; 282(6):3498-506 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cross-talk between insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and estrogen receptor alpha (ER) regulates gene expression in breast cancer cells, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we studied how 17-beta-estradiol (E2) and IGF-1 affect ER transcriptional machinery in MCF-7 cells. E2 treatment stimulated ER loading on the estrogen response element (ERE) in the pS2 promoter and on the AP-1 motif in the cyclin D1 promoter. On ERE, similar amounts of liganded ER were found at 1-24-h time points, whereas on AP-1, ER binding fluctuated over time. At 1 h, liganded ER was recruited to ERE together with histone acetyltransferases SRC-1 and p300, ubiquitin ligase E6-AP, histone methyltransferase Carm1 (Carm), and polymerase (pol) II. This coincided with increased histone H3 acetylation and up-regulation of pS2 mRNA levels. At the same time, E2 moderately increased cyclin D1 expression, which was associated with the recruitment of liganded ER, SRC-1, p300, ubiquitin ligase E6-AP (E6L), Mdm2, and pol II, but not other regulatory proteins, to AP-1. In contrast, at 1 h, IGF-1 increased the recruitment of the ER.SRC-1.p300.E6L.Mdm2.Carm.pol II complex on AP-1, but not on ERE, and induced cyclin D1, but not pS2, mRNA expression. Notably, ER knockdown reduced the association of ER, E6L, Mdm2, Carm, and pol II with AP-1 and resulted in down-regulation of cyclin D1 expression. IGF-1 potentiated the effects of E2 on ERE but not to AP-1 and increased E2-dependent pS2, but not cyclin D1, mRNA expression. In conclusion, E2 and IGF-1 differentially regulate ER transcription at ERE and AP-1 sites.

Majumder S, Liu Y, Ford OH, et al.
Involvement of arginine methyltransferase CARM1 in androgen receptor function and prostate cancer cell viability.
Prostate. 2006; 66(12):1292-301 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Androgen receptor (AR) may play a role in prostate cancer progression. Coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase (CARM1) catalyzes methylation of histone H3 at Arg-17.
METHODS: Immunohistochemistry of CARM1 was performed on primary prostate cancer specimens. CARM1 recruitment and histone methylation was analyzed by chromatin immunoprecipitation. The effect of CARM1 overexpression or CARM1 knockdown was assessed on reporter assays, cell proliferation, apoptosis, and endogenous androgen target gene expression.
RESULTS: CARM1 expression was increased in the nucleus of castration-resistant, but not androgen-stimulated prostate cancer. Androgen stimulation led to CARM1 recruitment and methylation of histone H3 at androgen responsive enhancers. Overexpression of CARM1 stimulated and CARM1 knockdown inhibited AR reporter activity. CARM1 knockdown inhibited cell proliferation and induced apoptosis. CARM1 knockdown inhibited androgen-dependent prostate specific antigen (PSA) and hK2 mRNA expression.
CONCLUSIONS: CARM1 is essential for AR function and may play a role in prostate cancer progression. CARM1 may represent a novel therapeutic target in prostate cancer.

Lee DY, Northrop JP, Kuo MH, Stallcup MR
Histone H3 lysine 9 methyltransferase G9a is a transcriptional coactivator for nuclear receptors.
J Biol Chem. 2006; 281(13):8476-85 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
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 glucocorticoid receptor interacting protein 1, coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (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 associated 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.

Kang Z, Jänne OA, Palvimo JJ
Coregulator recruitment and histone modifications in transcriptional regulation by the androgen receptor.
Mol Endocrinol. 2004; 18(11):2633-48 [PubMed] Related Publications
We have used chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay to follow transcription factor loading and monitor changes in covalent histone modifications associated with the prostate-specific antigen and kallikrein (KLK2) genes in response to androgen and antiandrogen in LNCaP cells. The dynamics of testosterone (T)-induced loading of androgen receptor (AR) onto the proximal promoters of the genes differed significantly from that onto the distal enhancers. Significantly more holo-AR was loaded onto the enhancers than the promoters, but the receptor's residence time was more transient on the enhancers. Even though holo-AR recruited some RNA polymerase II (Pol II) onto the enhancers, the principal Pol II transcription complex was assembled on the promoters. The pure antiandrogen bicalutamide (CDX) complexed to AR elicited occupancy of the prostate-specific antigen promoter, but not that of the enhancer, whereas the partial antagonists cyproterone acetate (CPA) and mifepristone (RU486) were capable of promoting AR loading also onto the enhancer. In contrast to the CDX-occupied receptor, both CPA- and RU486-bound AR recruited Pol II and coactivators p300 and glucocorticoid receptor-interacting protein 1 (GRIP1) onto the promoter and enhancer. However, CPA and RU486 also brought about a simultaneous recruitment of the nuclear receptor corepressor (NCOR) onto the promoter as efficiently as CDX. There were dynamic changes in covalent modifications of histone H3: acetylation of lysine 9 and 14, methylation of arginine 17, phosphorylation of serine 10 as well as di- and tri-methylation at lysine 4 of the H3 N-terminal tail were enhanced in response to T, but not after CDX treatment. Collectively, these results indicate that transcriptional activation by AR is accompanied by a cascade of distinct covalent histone modifications and that the pure antiandrogen CDX and the partial antagonists CPA and RU486 exhibit clear differences in their ability to promote recruitment of histone-acetylating and histone-deacetylating complexes in human prostate cancer cells.

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