N6-Adenosine methylation on mRNA is recognized by YTH2 domain protein of human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Plasmodium falciparum exhibits high translational plasticity during its development in RBCs, yet the regulation at the post-transcriptional level is not well understood. The N6-methyl adenosine (m6A) is an important epigenetic modification primarily present on mRNA that controls the levels of transcripts and efficiency of translation in eukaryotes. Recently, the dynamics of m6A on mRNAs at all three developmental stages of P. falciparum in RBCs have been profiled; however, the proteins that regulate the m6A containing mRNAs in the parasites are unknown. RESULTS:Using sequence analysis, we computationally identified that the P. falciparum genome encodes two putative YTH (YT521-B Homology) domain-containing proteins, which could potentially bind to m6A containing mRNA. We developed a modified methylated RNA immunoprecipitation (MeRIP) assay using PfYTH2 and find that it binds selectively to m6A containing transcripts. The PfYTH2 has a conserved aromatic amino acid cage that forms the methyl-binding pocket. Through site-directed mutagenesis experiments and molecular dynamics simulations, we show that F98 residue is important for m6A binding on mRNA. Fluorescence depolarization assay confirmed that PfYTH2 binds to methylated RNA oligos with high affinity. Further, MeRIP sequencing data revealed that PfYTH2 has more permissive sequence specificity on target m6A containing mRNA than other known eukaryotic YTH proteins. Taken together, here we identify and characterize PfYTH2 as the major protein that could regulate m6A containing transcripts in P. falciparum. CONCLUSION:Plasmodium spp. lost the canonical m6A-specific demethylases in their genomes, however, the YTH domain-containing proteins seem to be retained. This study presents a possibility that the YTH proteins are involved in post-transcriptional control in P. falciparum, and might orchestrate the translation of mRNA in various developmental stages of P. falciparum. This is perhaps the first characterization of the methyl-reading function of YTH protein in any parasites.
Project description:N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is the most prevalent modification in eukaryotic messenger RNAs (mRNAs) and is interpreted by its readers, such as YTH domain-containing proteins, to regulate mRNA fate. Here, we report the insulin-like growth factor 2 mRNA-binding proteins (IGF2BPs; including IGF2BP1/2/3) as a distinct family of m6A readers that target thousands of mRNA transcripts through recognizing the consensus GG(m6A)C sequence. In contrast to the mRNA-decay-promoting function of YTH domain-containing family protein 2, IGF2BPs promote the stability and storage of their target mRNAs (for example, MYC) in an m6A-dependent manner under normal and stress conditions and therefore affect gene expression output. Moreover, the K homology domains of IGF2BPs are required for their recognition of m6A and are critical for their oncogenic functions. Thus, our work reveals a different facet of the m6A-reading process that promotes mRNA stability and translation, and highlights the functional importance of IGF2BPs as m6A readers in post-transcriptional gene regulation and cancer biology.
Project description:Interest in mRNA methylation has exploded in recent years. The sudden interest in a 40 year old discovery was due in part to the finding of FTO's (Fat Mass Obesity) N6-methyl-adenosine (m6A) deaminase activity, thus suggesting a link between obesity-associated diseases and the presence of m6A in mRNA. Another catalyst of the sudden rise in mRNA methylation research was the release of mRNA methylomes for human, mouse and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. However, the molecular function, or functions of this mRNA 'epimark' remain to be discovered. There is supportive evidence that m6A could be a mark for mRNA degradation due to its binding to YTH domain proteins, and consequently being chaperoned to P bodies. Nonetheless, only a subpopulation of the methylome was found binding to YTHDF2 in HeLa cells.The model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae, has only one YTH domain protein (Pho92, Mrb1), which targets PHO4 transcripts for degradation under phosphate starvation. However, mRNA methylation is only found under meiosis inducing conditions, and PHO4 transcripts are apparently non-methylated. In this paper we set out to investigate if m6A could function alternatively to being a degradation mark in S. cerevisiae; we also sought to test whether it can be induced under non-standard sporulation conditions. We find a positive association between the presence of m6A and message translatability. We also find m6A induction following prolonged rapamycin treatment.
Project description:N6-Methyladenosine (m6A) is the most common internal modification of eukaryotic messenger RNA (mRNA) that occurred on the N6 nitrogen of adenosine. However, the roles of m6A in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) are still elusive. Here, we investigate the function and mechanism of methyltransferase-like 3 (METTL3) in OSCC tumorigenesis. Clinically, METTL3 was significantly upregulated in tissue samples and correlated with the poor prognosis of OSCC patients. Functionally, loss and gain studies illustrated that METTL3 promoted the proliferation, invasion, and migration of OSCC cells in vitro, and METTL3 knockdown inhibited tumor growth in vivo. Mechanistically, methylated RNA immunoprecipitation sequencing (MeRIP-seq) illustrated that METTL3 targeted the 3' UTR (near to stop codon) of the c-Myc transcript to install the m6A modification, thereby enhancing its stability. Furthermore, results revealed that YTH N6-methyladenosine RNA binding protein 1 (YTH domain family, member 1 [YTHDF1]) mediated the m6A-increased stability of c-Myc mRNA catalyzed by METTL3. In conclusion, our findings herein identify that METTL3 accelerates the c-Myc stability via YTHDF1-mediated m6A modification, thereby giving rise to OSCC tumorigenesis.
Project description:N6-Methyladenosine (m6A) is the most prevalent post-transcriptional modification of eukaryotic mRNA and long noncoding RNA. m6A mediates its effects primarily by recruiting proteins, including the multiprotein eukaryotic initiation factor 3 complex and a set of proteins that contain the YTH domain. Here we describe the mechanisms by which YTH domain-containing proteins bind m6A and influence the fate of m6A-containing RNA in mammalian cells. We discuss the diverse, and occasionally contradictory, functions ascribed to these proteins and the emerging concepts that are influencing our understanding of these proteins and their effects on the epitranscriptome.
Project description:Epitranscriptomic RNA modifications can serve as recognition elements for the recruitment of effector proteins (i.e., "readers") to modified transcripts. While these interactions play an important role in mRNA regulation, there is a major gap in our understanding of the sequence determinants critical for the binding of readers to modified sequence motifs. Here, we develop a high-throughput platform, relying upon in vitro selection with a site-specifically modified random sequence RNA library and next-generation sequencing, to profile the binding specificity of RNA modification reader proteins. We apply our approach to interrogate the effect of sequence context on the interactions of YTH-domain proteins with N6-methyladenosine (m6A)-modified RNA. We find that while the in vitro binding preferences of YTHDC1 strongly overlap with the well-characterized DR(m6A)CH motif, the related YTH-domain proteins YTHDF1 and YTHDF2 can bind tightly to noncanonical m6A-containing sequences. Our results reveal the principles underlying substrate selection by m6A reader proteins and provide a powerful approach for investigating protein-modified RNA interactions in an unbiased manner.
Project description:N:6-methyladenosine (m6A), the most abundant internal modification on mRNAs in eukaryotes, play roles in adipogenesis. However, the underlying mechanism remains largely unclear. Here, we show that m6A plays a critical role in regulating macroautophagy/autophagy and adipogenesis through targeting Atg5 and Atg7. Mechanistically, knockdown of FTO, a well-known m6A demethylase, decreased the expression of ATG5 and ATG7, leading to attenuation of autophagosome formation, thereby inhibiting autophagy and adipogenesis. We proved that FTO directly targeted Atg5 and Atg7 transcripts and mediated their expression in an m6A-dependent manner. Further study identified that Atg5 and Atg7 were the targets of YTHDF2 (YTH N6-methyladenosine RNA binding protein 2). Upon FTO silencing, Atg5 and Atg7 transcripts with higher m6A levels were captured by YTHDF2, which resulted in mRNA degradation and reduction of protein expression, thus alleviating autophagy and adipogenesis. Furthermore, we generated an adipose-selective fto knockout mouse and find that FTO deficiency decreased white fat mass and impairs ATG5- and ATG7-dependent autophagy in vivo. Together, these findings unveil the functional importance of the m6A methylation machinery in autophagy and adipogenesis regulation, which expands our understanding of such interplay that is essential for development of therapeutic strategies in the prevention and treatment of obesity. ABBREVIATIONS:3-MA: 3-methyladenine; ACTB: actin, beta; ATG: autophagy-related; Baf A1: bafilomycin A1; CEBPA: CCAAT/enhancer binding protein (C/EBP), alpha; CEBPB: CCAAT/enhancer binding protein (C/EBP), beta; FABP4: fatty acid binding protein 4, adipocyte; FTO: fat mass and obesity associated; HFD: high-fat diet; LC-MS/MS: liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry; MAP1LC3B/LC3: microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 beta; m6A: N6-methyladenosine; MEFs: mouse embryo fibroblasts; MeRIP-qPCR: methylated RNA immunoprecipitation-qPCR; PPARG: peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma; RIP: RNA-immunoprecipitation; SAT: subcutaneous adipose tissue; siRNA: small interfering RNA; SQSTM1/p62: sequestosome 1; TEM: transmission electron microscopy; ULK1: unc-51 like kinase 1; VAT: visceral adipose tissue; WAT: white adipose tissue; YTHDF: YTH N6-methyladenosine RNA binding protein.
Project description:N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is the most abundant internal modification of eukaryotic messenger RNA (mRNA) and plays critical roles in RNA biology. The function of this modification is mediated by m6A-selective 'reader' proteins of the YTH family, which incorporate m6A-modified mRNAs into pathways of RNA metabolism. Here, we show that the m6A-binding protein YTHDC1 mediates export of methylated mRNA from the nucleus to the cytoplasm in HeLa cells. Knockdown of YTHDC1 results in an extended residence time for nuclear m6A-containing mRNA, with an accumulation of transcripts in the nucleus and accompanying depletion within the cytoplasm. YTHDC1 interacts with the splicing factor and nuclear export adaptor protein SRSF3, and facilitates RNA binding to both SRSF3 and NXF1. This role for YTHDC1 expands the potential utility of chemical modification of mRNA, and supports an emerging paradigm of m6A as a distinct biochemical entity for selective processing and metabolism of mammalian mRNAs.
Project description:N6-methyladenosine (m6A) modifications in RNAs play important roles in regulating many different aspects of gene expression. While m6As can have direct effects on the structure, maturation, or translation of mRNAs, such modifications can also influence the fate of RNAs via proteins termed "readers" that specifically recognize and bind modified nucleotides. Several YTH domain-containing proteins have been identified as m6A readers that regulate the splicing, translation, or stability of specific mRNAs. In contrast to the other YTH domain-containing proteins, YTHDC2 has several defined domains and here, we have analyzed the contribution of these domains to the RNA and protein interactions of YTHDC2. The YTH domain of YTHDC2 preferentially binds m6A-containing RNAs via a conserved hydrophobic pocket, whereas the ankyrin repeats mediate an RNA-independent interaction with the 5'-3' exoribonuclease XRN1. We show that the YTH and R3H domains contribute to the binding of YTHDC2 to cellular RNAs, and using crosslinking and analysis of cDNA (CRAC), we reveal that YTHDC2 interacts with the small ribosomal subunit in close proximity to the mRNA entry/exit sites. YTHDC2 was recently found to promote a "fast-track" expression program for specific mRNAs, and our data suggest that YTHDC2 accomplishes this by recruitment of the RNA degradation machinery to regulate the stability of m6A-containing mRNAs and by utilizing its distinct RNA-binding domains to bridge interactions between m6A-containing mRNAs and the ribosomes to facilitate their efficient translation.
Project description:The N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is the most abundant internal modification in almost all eukaryotic messenger RNAs, and is dynamically regulated. Therefore, identification of m6A readers is especially important in determining the cellular function of m6A. YTHDF2 has recently been characterized as the first m6A reader that regulates the cytoplasmic stability of methylated RNA. Here we show that YTHDC1 is a nuclear m6A reader and report the crystal structure of the YTH domain of YTHDC1 bound to m6A-containing RNA. We further determined the structure of another YTH domain, YTHDF1, and found that the YTH domain utilizes a conserved aromatic cage to specifically recognize the methyl group of m6A. Our structural characterizations of the YTHDC1-m6A RNA complex also shed light on the molecular basis for the preferential binding of the GG(m6A)C sequence by YTHDC1 and confirm the YTH domain as a specific m6A RNA reader. PAR-CLIP (Photoactivatable-Ribonucleoside-Enhanced Crosslinking and Immunoprecipitation) was applied to human YTHDC1 protein to identify its binding sites.
Project description:The importance of RNA methylation in biological processes is an emerging focus of investigation. We report that altering m6A levels by silencing either N 6-adenosine methyltransferase METTL14 (methyltransferase-like 14) or demethylase ALKBH5 (ALKB homolog 5) inhibits cancer growth and invasion. METTL14/ALKBH5 mediate their protumorigenic function by regulating m6A levels of key epithelial-mesenchymal transition and angiogenesis-associated transcripts, including transforming growth factor-? signaling pathway genes. Using MeRIP-seq (methylated RNA immunoprecipitation sequencing) analysis and functional studies, we find that these target genes are particularly sensitive to changes in m6A modifications, as altered m6A status leads to aberrant expression of these genes, resulting in inappropriate cell cycle progression and evasion of apoptosis. Our results reveal that METTL14 and ALKBH5 determine the m6A status of target genes by controlling each other's expression and by inhibiting m6A reader YTHDF3 (YTH N 6-methyladenosine RNA binding protein 3), which blocks RNA demethylase activity. Furthermore, we show that ALKBH5/METTL14 constitute a positive feedback loop with RNA stability factor HuR to regulate the stability of target transcripts. We discover that hypoxia alters the level/activity of writers, erasers, and readers, leading to decreased m6A and consequently increased expression of target transcripts in cancer cells. This study unveils a previously undefined role for m6A in cancer and shows that the collaboration among writers-erasers-readers sets up the m6A threshold to ensure the stability of progrowth/proliferation-specific genes, and protumorigenic stimulus, such as hypoxia, perturbs that m6A threshold, leading to uncontrolled expression/activity of those genes, resulting in tumor growth, angiogenesis, and progression.