Rakow S, Pullamsetti SS, Bauer UM, Bouchard C
Among the widespread and increasing number of identified post-translational modifications (PTMs), arginine methylation is catalyzed by the protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) and regulates fundamental processes in cells, such as gene regulation, RNA processing, translation and signal transduction. As epigenetic regulators, PRMTs play key roles in pluripotency, differentiation, proliferation, survival and apoptosis, which are essential biological programs leading to development, adult homeostasis but also pathological conditions including cancer. A full understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underlie PRMT-mediated gene regulation requires the genome wide mapping of each player, i.e., PRMTs, their substrates and epigenetic marks, methyl-marks readers as well as interaction partners, in a thorough and unambiguous manner. However, despite the tremendous advances in high throughput sequencing technologies and the numerous efforts from the scientific community, the epigenomic profiling of PRMTs as well as their histone and non-histone substrates still remains a big challenge owing to obvious limitations in tools and methodologies. The present review will summarize the current knowledge about the genome wide mapping of PRMTs and their substrates as well as the technical approaches currently in use. The limitations and pitfalls of the technical tools along with conventional approaches will be then discussed in detail. Finally, potential new strategies for chromatin profiling of PRMTs and histone substrates will be proposed and described.