Arginine methylation is responsible for diverse biological functions and is mediated by protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs). Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is accompanied by excessive hepatic lipogenesis via liver X receptor α (LXRα). Thus we examined the pathophysiological role of PRMTs in NAFLD and their relationship with LXRα. In this study, palmitic acid (PA) treatment increased PRMT3, which is correlated with the elevation of hepatic lipogenic proteins. The expression of lipogenic proteins was increased by PRMT3 overexpression, but decreased by PRMT3 silencing and use of the PRMT3 knockout (KO) mouse embryonic fibroblast cell line. PRMT3 also increased the transcriptional activity of LXRα by directly binding with LXRα in a methylation-independent manner. In addition, PA treatment translocated PRMT3 to the nucleus. In animal models, a high-fat diet increased the LXRα and PRMT3 expressions and binding, which was not observed in LXRα KO mice. Furthermore, increased PRMT3 expression and its binding with LXRα were observed in NAFLD patients. Taken together, LXRα and PRMT3 expression was increased in cellular and mouse models of NAFLD and human patients, and PRMT3 translocated into the nucleus bound with LXRα as a transcriptional cofactor, which induced lipogenesis. In conclusion, PRMT3 translocation by PA is coupled to the binding of LXRα, which is responsible for the onset of fatty liver.
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© 2015 by the American Diabetes Association.