A chemical probe of CARM1 alters epigenetic plasticity against breast cancer cell invasion.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Elife, Volume 8 (2019)


<p>CARM1 is a cancer-relevant protein arginine methyltransferase that regulates many aspects of transcription. Its pharmacological inhibition is a promising anti-cancer strategy. Here SKI-73 (6a in this work) is presented as a CARM1 chemical probe with pro-drug properties. SKI-73 (6a) can rapidly penetrate cell membranes and then be processed into active inhibitors, which are retained intracellularly with 10-fold enrichment for several days. These compounds were characterized for their potency, selectivity, modes of action, and on-target engagement. SKI-73 (6a) recapitulates the effect of CARM1 knockout against breast cancer cell invasion. Single-cell RNA-seq analysis revealed that the SKI-73(6a)-associated reduction of invasiveness acts via altering epigenetic plasticity and suppressing the invasion-prone subpopulation. Interestingly, SKI-73 (6a) and CARM1 knockout alter the epigenetic plasticity with remarkable difference, arguing distinct modes of action between the small-molecule and genetic perturbation. We therefore discovered a CARM1-addiction mechanism of cancer metastasis and developed a chemical probe to target this process.</p>