The multifunctional protein Y-box binding protein 1 (YBX1), is a critical regulator of transcription and translation, and is widely recognized as an oncogenic driver in several solid tumors, including colorectal cancer (CRC). However, very little is known about the upstream or downstream factors that underlie YBX1′s regulation and involvement in CRC. Previously, we demonstrated that YBX1 overexpression correlated with potent activation of nuclear factor κB (NF-κB), a well-known transcription factor believed to be crucial in CRC progression. Here, we report a novel interaction between NF-κB, YBX1 and protein arginine methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5). Our findings reveal for the first time that PRMT5 catalyzes methylation of YBX1 at arginine 205 (YBX1-R205me2), an event that is critical for YBX1-mediated NF-κB activation and its downstream target gene expression. Importantly, when WT-YBX1 is overexpressed, this methylation exists under basal (unstimulated) conditions and is further augmented upon interleukin-1β (IL-1β) stimulation. Mechanistically, co-immunoprecipitation studies reveal that the R205 to alanine (A) mutant of YBX1 (YBX1-R205A) interacted less well with the p65 subunit of NF-κB and attenuated the DNA binding ability of p65. Importantly, overexpression of YBX1-R205A significantly reduced cell growth, migration and anchorage-independent growth of CRC cells. Collectively, our findings shed important light on the regulation of a novel PRMT5/YBX1/NF-κB axis through PRMT5-mediated YBX1-R205 methylation. Given the fact that PRMT5, YBX1 and NF-κB are all among top crucial factors in cancer progression, pharmacological disruption of this pivotal axis could serve as the basis for new therapeutics for CRC and other PRMT5/YBX1/NF-κB-associated cancers.
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