Endotoxin stabilizes protein arginine methyltransferase 4 (PRMT4) protein triggering death of lung epithelia

Yandong Lai, Xiuying Li, Tiao Li, Toru Nyunoya, Kong Chen, Georgios D. Kitsios, Seyed Mehdi Nouraie, Yingze Zhang, Bryan J. McVerry, Janet S. Lee, Rama K. Mallampalli, Chunbin Zou

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7 Scopus citations


Lung epithelial cell death is a prominent feature of acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ALI/ARDS), which results from severe pulmonary infection leading to respiratory failure. Multiple mechanisms are believed to contribute to the death of epithelia; however, limited data propose a role for epigenetic modifiers. In this study, we report that a chromatin modulator protein arginine N-methyltransferase 4/coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (PRMT4/CARM1) is elevated in human lung tissues with pneumonia and in experimental lung injury models. Here PRMT4 is normally targeted for its degradation by an E3 ubiquitin ligase, SCFFBXO9, that interacts with PRMT4 via a phosphodegron to ubiquitinate the chromatin modulator at K228 leading to its proteasomal degradation. Bacterial-derived endotoxin reduced levels of SCFFBXO9 thus increasing PRMT4 cellular concentrations linked to epithelial cell death. Elevated PRMT4 protein caused substantial epithelial cell death via caspase 3-mediated cell death signaling, and depletion of PRMT4 abolished LPS-mediated epithelial cell death both in cellular and murine injury models. These findings implicate a unique molecular interaction between SCFFBXO9 and PRMT4 and its regulation by endotoxin that impacts the life span of lung epithelia, which may play a key role in the pathobiology of tissue injury observed during critical respiratory illness.

Original languageEnglish
Article number828
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021


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