The c-Myc protein is dysregulated in many human cancers and its function has not been fully elucitated yet. The c-Myc inhibitor Omomyc displays potent anticancer properties in animal models. It perturbs the c-Myc protein network, impairs c-Myc binding to the E-boxes, retaining transrepressive properties and inducing histone deacetylation. Here we have employed Omomyc to further analyse c-Myc activity at the epigenetic level. We show that both Myc and Omomyc stimulate histone H4 symmetric dimethylation of arginine (R) 3 (H4R3me2s), in human glioblastoma and HEK293T cells. Consistently, both associated with protein Arginine Methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5) - the catalyst of the reaction - and its co-factor Methylosome Protein 50 (MEP50). Confocal experiments showed that Omomyc co-localized with c-Myc, PRMT5 and H4R3me2s-enriched chromatin domains. Finally, interfering with PRMT5 activity impaired target gene activation by Myc whereas it restrained Omomyc-dependent repression. The identification of a histone-modifying complex associated with Omomyc represents the first demonstration of an active role of this miniprotein in modifying chromatin structure and adds new information regarding its action on c-Myc targets. More importantly, the observation that c-Myc may recruit PRMT5-MEP50, inducing H4R3 symmetric di-methylation, suggests previously unpredictable roles for c-Myc in gene expression regulation and new potential targets for therapy.
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