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The demethylation of Nε -methyllysine residues on histones by Jumonji-C lysine demethylases (JmjC-KDMs) has been established. A subset of JmjC-KDMs has also been reported to have Nω -methylarginine residue demethylase (RDM) activity. Here, we describe biochemical screening studies, showing that the catalytic domains of all human KDM5s (KDM5A-KDM5D), KDM4E and, to a lesser extent, KDM4A/D, have both KDM and RDM activities with histone peptides. Ras GTPase-activating protein-binding protein 1 peptides were shown to be RDM substrates for KDM5C/D. No RDM activity was observed with KDM1A and the other JmjC-KDMs tested. The results highlight the potential of JmjC-KDMs to catalyse reactions other than Nε -methyllysine demethylation. Although our study is limited to peptide fragments, the results should help guide biological studies investigating JmjC functions.

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2-oxoglutarate non-heme oxygenase, JmjC-KDM, epigenetics, histone N-methyl arginine/lysine demethylase, post translational modification