Research ArticleNEUROSCIENCE

PRMT8 as a phospholipase regulates Purkinje cell dendritic arborization and motor coordination

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Science Advances  04 Dec 2015:
Vol. 1, no. 11, e1500615
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500615


The development of vertebrate neurons requires a change in membrane phosphatidylcholine (PC) metabolism. Although PC hydrolysis is essential for enhanced axonal outgrowth mediated by phospholipase D (PLD), less is known about the determinants of PC metabolism on dendritic arborization. We show that protein arginine methyltransferase 8 (PRMT8) acts as a phospholipase that directly hydrolyzes PC, generating choline and phosphatidic acid. We found that PRMT8 knockout mice (prmt8−/−) displayed abnormal motor behaviors, including hindlimb clasping and hyperactivity. Moreover, prmt8−/− mice and TALEN-induced zebrafish prmt8 mutants and morphants showed abnormal phenotypes, including the development of dendritic trees in Purkinje cells and altered cerebellar structure. Choline and acetylcholine levels were significantly decreased, whereas PC levels were increased, in the cerebellum of prmt8−/− mice. Our findings suggest that PRMT8 acts both as an arginine methyltransferase and as a PC-hydrolyzing PLD that is essential for proper neurological functions.

  • vertebrates
  • neurology

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