Protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) are a family of enzymes that catalyze the methylation of arginine residues on target proteins. While dysregulation of PRMTs has been documented in a number of the most prevalent diseases, our understanding of PRMT biology in human skeletal muscle is limited. This study served to address this knowledge gap by exploring PRMT expression and function in human skeletal muscle in vivo and characterizing PRMT biology in response to acute and chronic stimuli for muscle plasticity. Fourteen untrained, healthy men performed one session of sprint interval exercise (SIE) before completing four bouts of SIE per week for 6 wk as part of a sprint interval training (SIT) program. Throughout this time course, multiple muscle biopsies were collected. We found that at basal, resting conditions PRMT1, PRMT4, PRMT5, and PRMT7 were the most abundantly expressed PRMT mRNAs in human quadriceps muscle. Additionally, the broad subcellular distribution pattern of PRMTs suggests methyltransferase activity throughout human myofibers. A spectrum of PRMT-specific inductions, and decrements, in expression and activity were observed in response to acute and chronic cues for muscle plasticity. In conclusion, our findings demonstrate that PRMTs are present and active in human skeletal muscle in vivo and that there are distinct, enzyme-specific responses and adaptations in PRMT biology to acute and chronic stimuli for muscle plasticity. This work advances our understanding of this critical family of enzymes in humans.
NEW & NOTEWORTHY This is the first report of protein arginine methyltransferase (PRMT) biology in human skeletal muscle in vivo. We observed that PRMT1, -4, -5, and -7 were the most abundant PRMT mRNAs in human muscle and that PRMT proteins exhibited a broad subcellular localization that included myonuclear, cytosolic, and sarcolemmal compartments. Acute exercise and chronic training evoked PRMT-specific alterations in expression and activity. This study reveals a hitherto unknown complexity to PRMT biology in human muscle.