Reduced symmetric dimethylation stabilizes vimentin and promotes metastasis in MTAP‐deficient lung cancer
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.15252/embr.202154265
The aggressive nature and poor prognosis of lung cancer led us to explore the mechanisms driving disease progression. Utilizing our invasive cell-based model, we identified methylthioadenosine phosphorylase (MTAP) and confirmed its suppressive effects on tumorigenesis and metastasis. Patients with low MTAP expression display worse overall and progression-free survival. Mechanistically, accumulation of methylthioadenosine substrate in MTAP-deficient cells reduce the level of protein arginine methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5)-mediated symmetric dimethylarginine (sDMA) modification on proteins. We identify vimentin as a dimethyl-protein whose dimethylation levels drop in response to MTAP deficiency. The sDMA modification on vimentin reduces its protein abundance but trivially affects its filamentous structure. In MTAP-deficient cells, lower sDMA modification prevents ubiquitination-mediated vimentin degradation, thereby stabilizing vimentin and contributing to cell invasion. MTAP and PRMT5 negatively correlate with vimentin in lung cancer samples. Taken together, we propose a mechanism for metastasis involving vimentin post-translational regulation.