Structural insights into the molecular mechanism of the m(6)A writer complex.
ABSTRACT: Methylation of adenosines at the N(6) position (m(6)A) is a dynamic and abundant epitranscriptomic mark that regulates critical aspects of eukaryotic RNA metabolism in numerous biological processes. The RNA methyltransferases METTL3 and METTL14 are components of a multisubunit m(6)A writer complex whose enzymatic activity is substantially higher than the activities of METTL3 or METTL14 alone. The molecular mechanism underpinning this synergistic effect is poorly understood. Here we report the crystal structure of the catalytic core of the human m(6)A writer complex comprising METTL3 and METTL14. The structure reveals the heterodimeric architecture of the complex and donor substrate binding by METTL3. Structure-guided mutagenesis indicates that METTL3 is the catalytic subunit of the complex, whereas METTL14 has a degenerate active site and plays non-catalytic roles in maintaining complex integrity and substrate RNA binding. These studies illuminate the molecular mechanism and evolutionary history of eukaryotic m(6)A modification in post-transcriptional genome regulation.
Project description:N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is an important epitranscriptomic chemical modification that is mainly catalyzed by the METTL3/METTL14 RNA methyltransferase heterodimer. Although m6A is found at the consensus sequence of 5'-DRACH-3' in various transcripts, the mechanism by which METTL3/METTL14 determines its target is unclear. This study aimed to clarify the RNA binding property of METTL3/METTL14. We found that the methyltransferase heterodimer itself has a binding preference for RNA G-quadruplex (rG4) structures, which are non-canonical four-stranded structures formed by G-rich sequences, via the METTL14 RGG repeats. Additionally, the methyltransferase heterodimer selectively methylated adenosines close to the rG4 sequences. These results suggest a possible process for direct recruitment of METTL3/METTL14 to specific methylation sites, especially near the G4-forming regions. This study is the first to report the RNA binding preference of the m6A writer complex for the rG4 structure and provides insights into the role of rG4 in epitranscriptomic regulation.
Project description:The methyltransferase like 3 (METTL3)-containing methyltransferase complex catalyzes the N6-methyladenosine (m6A) formation, a novel epitranscriptomic marker; however, the nature of this complex remains largely unknown. Here we report two new components of the human m6A methyltransferase complex, Wilms' tumor 1-associating protein (WTAP) and methyltransferase like 14 (METTL14). WTAP interacts with METTL3 and METTL14, and is required for their localization into nuclear speckles enriched with pre-mRNA processing factors and for catalytic activity of the m6A methyltransferase in vivo. The majority of RNAs bound by WTAP and METTL3 in vivo represent mRNAs containing the consensus m6A motif. In the absence of WTAP, the RNA-binding capability of METTL3 is strongly reduced, suggesting that WTAP may function to regulate recruitment of the m6A methyltransferase complex to mRNA targets. Furthermore, transcriptomic analyses in combination with photoactivatable-ribonucleoside-enhanced crosslinking and immunoprecipitation (PAR-CLIP) illustrate that WTAP and METTL3 regulate expression and alternative splicing of genes involved in transcription and RNA processing. Morpholino-mediated knockdown targeting WTAP and/or METTL3 in zebrafish embryos caused tissue differentiation defects and increased apoptosis. These findings provide strong evidence that WTAP may function as a regulatory subunit in the m6A methyltransferase complex and play a critical role in epitranscriptomic regulation of RNA metabolism.
Project description:N(6)-methyladenosine (m(6)A) is a prevalent, reversible chemical modification of functional RNAs and is important for central events in biology. The core m(6)A writers are Mettl3 and Mettl14, which both contain methyltransferase domains. How Mettl3 and Mettl14 cooperate to catalyze methylation of adenosines has remained elusive. We present crystal structures of the complex of Mettl3/Mettl14 methyltransferase domains in apo form as well as with bound S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) or S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH) in the catalytic site. We determine that the heterodimeric complex of methyltransferase domains, combined with CCCH motifs, constitutes the minimally required regions for creating m(6)A modifications in vitro. We also show that Mettl3 is the catalytically active subunit, while Mettl14 plays a structural role critical for substrate recognition. Our model provides a molecular explanation for why certain mutations of Mettl3 and Mettl14 lead to impaired function of the methyltransferase complex.
Project description:N6-methyladenine (m6A) is found on many eukaryotic RNAs including mRNAs. m6A modification has been implicated in mRNA stability and turnover, localization, or translation efficiency. A heterodimeric enzyme complex composed of METTL3 and METTL14 generates m6A on mRNAs. METTL3/14 is found in the nucleus where it is localized to nuclear speckles and the splicing regulator WTAP is required for this distinct nuclear localization pattern. Although recent crystal structures revealed how the catalytic MT-A70 domains of METTL3 and METTL14 interact with each other, a more global architecture including WTAP and RNA interactions has not been reported so far. Here, we used recombinant proteins and mapped binding surfaces within the METTL3/14-WTAP complex. Furthermore, we identify nuclear localization signals and identify phosphorylation sites on the endogenous proteins. Using an in vitro methylation assay, we confirm that monomeric METTL3 is soluble and inactive while the catalytic center of METTL14 is degenerated and thus also inactive. In addition, we show that the C-terminal RGG repeats of METTL14 are required for METTL3/14 activity by contributing to RNA substrate binding. Our biochemical work identifies characteristic features of METTL3/14-WTAP and reveals novel insight into the overall architecture of this important enzyme complex.
Project description:N6-Methyladenosine (m6A) is considered the most common and endogenous modification of eukaryotic RNAs. Highly conserved in many species, m6A regulates RNA metabolism, cell differentiation, cell circadian rhythm, and cell cycle; it also responds to endogenous and exogenous stimuli and is associated with the development of tumors. The m6A methyltransferase complex (MTC) regulates the m6A modification of transcripts and involves two components, methyltransferase-like enzyme 3 (METTL3) and methyltransferase-like enzyme 14 (METTL14), and other auxiliary regulatory distinct components. Though with no catalytic effect, METTL14 serves as an RNA-binding scaffold in MTC, promotes RNA substrate recognition, activates, and escalates the catalytic capability of METTL3, thus accounting for a pivotal member of the complex. It was reported that METTL14 regulates tumor proliferation, metastasis, and self-renewal, and plays a part in tumorigenesis, tumor progression, and other processes. The present work is a review of the role of METTL14 both as a tumor suppressor and a tumor promoter in the oncogenesis and progression of various tumors, as well as the potential molecular mechanisms.
Project description:<i>N</i> <sup>6</sup>-Methyladenosine (m<sup>6</sup>A), the methylation of the adenosine base at the nitrogen 6 position, is the most common epitranscriptomic modification of mRNA that affects a wide variety of biological functions. We have previously reported that hepatitis B viral RNAs are m<sup>6</sup>A-modified, displaying a dual functional role in the viral life cycle. Here, we show that cellular m<sup>6</sup>A machinery regulates host innate immunity against hepatitis B and C viral infections by inducing m<sup>6</sup>A modification of viral transcripts. The depletion of the m<sup>6</sup>A writer enzymes (METTL3 and METTL14) leads to an increase in viral RNA recognition by retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I), thereby stimulating type I interferon production. This is reversed in cells in which m<sup>6</sup>A METTL3 and METTL14 are overexpressed. The m<sup>6</sup>A modification of viral RNAs renders RIG-I signaling less effective, whereas single nucleotide mutation of m<sup>6</sup>A consensus motif of viral RNAs enhances RIG-I sensing activity. Importantly, m<sup>6</sup>A reader proteins (YTHDF2 and YTHDF3) inhibit RIG-I-transduced signaling activated by viral RNAs by occupying m<sup>6</sup>A-modified RNAs and inhibiting RIG-I recognition. Collectively, our results provide new insights into the mechanism of immune evasion via m<sup>6</sup>A modification of viral RNAs.
Project description:N⁶-methyladenosine (m6A) and its reader, writer, and eraser (RWE) proteins assume crucial roles in regulating the splicing, stability, and translation of mRNA. To our knowledge, no systematic investigations have been conducted about the crosstalk between m6A and other modified nucleosides in RNA. Herein, we modified our recently established liquid chromatography-parallel-reaction monitoring (LC-PRM) method by incorporating stable isotope-labeled (SIL) peptides as internal or surrogate standards for profiling epitranscriptomic RWE proteins. We were able to detect reproducibly a total of 114 RWE proteins in HEK293T cells with the genes encoding m6A eraser proteins (i.e., ALKBH5, FTO) and the catalytic subunit of the major m6A writer complex (i.e., METTL3) being individually ablated. Notably, eight proteins were altered by more than 1.5-fold in the opposite directions in HEK293T cells depleted of METTL3 and ALKBH5. Analysis of published m6A mapping results revealed the presence of m6A in the corresponding mRNAs of four of these proteins. Together, we integrated SIL peptides into our LC-PRM method for quantifying epitranscriptomic RWE proteins, and our work revealed potential crosstalks between m6A and other epitranscriptomic modifications. Our modified LC-PRM method with the use of SIL peptides should be applicable for high-throughput profiling of epitranscriptomic RWE proteins in other cell types and in tissues.
Project description:Internal modification of RNAs with N<sup>6</sup>-methyladenosine (m<sup>6</sup>A) is a highly conserved means of gene expression control. While the METTL3/METTL14 heterodimer adds this mark on thousands of transcripts in a single-stranded context, the substrate requirements and physiological roles of the second m<sup>6</sup>A writer METTL16 remain unknown. Here we describe the crystal structure of human METTL16 to reveal a methyltransferase domain furnished with an extra N-terminal module, which together form a deep-cut groove that is essential for RNA binding. When presented with a random pool of RNAs, METTL16 selects for methylation-structured RNAs where the critical adenosine is present in a bulge. Mouse 16-cell embryos lacking Mettl16 display reduced mRNA levels of its methylation target, the SAM synthetase Mat2a. The consequence is massive transcriptome dysregulation in ?64-cell blastocysts that are unfit for further development. This highlights the role of an m<sup>6</sup>A RNA methyltransferase in facilitating early development via regulation of SAM availability.
Project description:Multi-functional DEAD-box helicase 5 (DDX5), which is important in transcriptional regulation, is hijacked by diverse viruses to facilitate viral replication. However, its regulatory effect in antiviral innate immunity remains unclear. We found that DDX5 interacts with the N6-methyladenosine (m6A) writer METTL3 to regulate methylation of mRNA through affecting the m6A writer METTL3-METTL14 heterodimer complex. Meanwhile, DDX5 promoted the m6A modification and nuclear export of transcripts DHX58, p65, and IKKγ by binding conserved UGCUGCAG element in innate response after viral infection. Stable IKKγ and p65 transcripts underwent YTHDF2-dependent mRNA decay, whereas DHX58 translation was promoted, resulting in inhibited antiviral innate response by DDX5 via blocking the p65 pathway and activating the DHX58-TBK1 pathway after infection with RNA virus. Furthermore, we found that DDX5 suppresses antiviral innate immunity in vivo. Our findings reveal that DDX5 serves as a negative regulator of innate immunity by promoting RNA methylation of antiviral transcripts and consequently facilitating viral propagation.
Project description:N6-methyladenosine (m6A), the most abundant chemical modification in eukaryotic mRNA, has been implicated in Drosophila sex determination by modifying Sex-lethal (Sxl) pre-mRNA and facilitating its alternative splicing. Here, we identify a sex determination gene, CG7358, and rename it xio according to its loss-of-function female-to-male transformation phenotype. xio encodes a conserved ubiquitous nuclear protein of unknown function. We show that Xio colocalizes and interacts with all previously known m6A writer complex subunits (METTL3, METTL14, Fl(2)d/WTAP, Vir/KIAA1429, and Nito/Rbm15) and that loss of xio is associated with phenotypes that resemble other m6A factors, such as sexual transformations, Sxl splicing defect, held-out wings, flightless flies, and reduction of m6A levels. Thus, Xio encodes a member of the m6A methyltransferase complex involved in mRNA modification. Since its ortholog ZC3H13 (or KIAA0853) also associates with several m6A writer factors, the function of Xio in the m6A pathway is likely evolutionarily conserved.