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PRMT1-dependent regulation of RNA metabolism and DNA damage response sustains pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Nature Communications
July 30, 2021

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is an aggressive cancer that has remained clinically challenging to manage. Here we employ an RNAi-based in vivo functional genomics platform to determine epigenetic vulnerabilities across a panel of patient-derived PDAC models. Through this, we identify protein arginine methyltransferase 1 (PRMT1) as a critical dependency required for PDAC maintenance. Genetic and pharmacological studies validate the role of PRMT1 in maintaining PDAC growth. Mechanistically, using proteomic and transcriptomic analyses, we demonstrate that global inhibition of asymmetric arginine methylation impairs RNA metabolism, which includes RNA splicing, alternative polyadenylation, and transcription termination. This triggers a robust downregulation of multiple pathways involved in the DNA damage response, thereby promoting genomic instability and inhibiting tumor growth. Taken together, our data support PRMT1 as a compelling target in PDAC and informs a mechanism-based translational strategy for future therapeutic development.

In this work, Genedata Screener was used for multiple assays, including: TR-FRET based enzymatic assays, In-Cell Western-based cellular target engagement assays, and mass spectrometry selectivity assays; Screener automated dose response curve-fitting and IC50 calculation.