Girardot M, Hirasawa R, Kacem S, Fritsch L, Pontis J, Kota SK, Filipponi D, Fabbrizio E, Sardet C, Lohmann F, Kadam S, Ait-Si-Ali S, Feil R
Symmetrical dimethylation on arginine-3 of histone H4 (H4R3me2s) has been reported to occur at several repressed genes, but its specific regulation and genomic distribution remained unclear. Here, we show that the type-II protein arginine methyltransferase PRMT5 controls H4R3me2s in mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs). In these differentiated cells, we find that the genome-wide pattern of H4R3me2s is highly similar to that in embryonic stem cells. In both the cell types, H4R3me2s peaks are detected predominantly at G + C-rich regions. Promoters are consistently marked by H4R3me2s, independently of transcriptional activity. Remarkably, H4R3me2s is mono-allelic at imprinting control regions (ICRs), at which it marks the same parental allele as H3K9me3, H4K20me3 and DNA methylation. These repressive chromatin modifications are regulated independently, however, since PRMT5-depletion in MEFs resulted in loss of H4R3me2s, without affecting H3K9me3, H4K20me3 or DNA methylation. Conversely, depletion of ESET (KMT1E) or SUV420H1/H2 (KMT5B/C) affected H3K9me3 and H4K20me3, respectively, without altering H4R3me2s at ICRs. Combined, our data indicate that PRMT5-mediated H4R3me2s uniquely marks the mammalian genome, mostly at G + C-rich regions, and independently from transcriptional activity or chromatin repression. Furthermore, comparative bioinformatics analyses suggest a putative role of PRMT5-mediated H4R3me2s in chromatin configuration in the nucleus.