METTL4 catalyzes m6Am methylation in U2 snRNA to regulate pre-mRNA splicing.
ABSTRACT: N 6-methylation of 2'-O-methyladenosine (Am) in RNA occurs in eukaryotic cells to generate N6,2'-O-dimethyladenosine (m6Am). Identification of the methyltransferase responsible for m6Am catalysis has accelerated studies on the function of m6Am in RNA processing. While m6Am is generally found in the first transcribed nucleotide of mRNAs, the modification is also found internally within U2 snRNA. However, the writer required for catalyzing internal m6Am formation had remained elusive. By sequencing transcriptome-wide RNA methylation at single-base-resolution, we identified human METTL4 as the writer that directly methylates Am at U2 snRNA position 30 into m6Am. We found that METTL4 localizes to the nucleus and its conserved methyltransferase catalytic site is required for U2 snRNA methylation. By sequencing human cells with overexpressed Mettl4, we determined METTL4's in vivo target RNA motif specificity. In the absence of Mettl4 in human cells, U2 snRNA lacks m6Am thereby affecting a subset of splicing events that exhibit specific features such as 3' splice-site weakness and an increase in exon inclusion. These findings suggest that METTL4 methylation of U2 snRNA regulates splicing of specific pre-mRNA transcripts.
Project description:Small nuclear RNAs (snRNAs) are core spliceosome components and mediate pre-mRNA splicing. Here we show that snRNAs contain a regulated and reversible nucleotide modification causing them to exist as two different methyl isoforms, m1 and m2, reflecting the methylation state of the adenosine adjacent to the snRNA cap. We find that snRNA biogenesis involves the formation of an initial m1 isoform with a single-methylated adenosine (2'-O-methyladenosine, Am), which is then converted to a dimethylated m2 isoform (N6,2'-O-dimethyladenosine, m6Am). The relative m1 and m2 isoform levels are determined by the RNA demethylase FTO, which selectively demethylates the m2 isoform. We show FTO is inhibited by the oncometabolite D-2-hydroxyglutarate, resulting in increased m2-snRNA levels. Furthermore, cells that exhibit high m2-snRNA levels show altered patterns of alternative splicing. Together, these data reveal that FTO controls a previously unknown central step of snRNA processing involving reversible methylation, and suggest that epitranscriptomic information in snRNA may influence mRNA splicing.
Project description:mRNA modifications play important roles in regulating gene expression. One of the most abundant mRNA modifications is N6,2-O-dimethyladenosine (m6Am). Here, we demonstrate that m6Am is an evolutionarily conserved mRNA modification mediated by the Phosphorylated CTD Interacting Factor 1 (PCIF1), which catalyzes m6A methylation on 2-O-methylated adenine located at the 5' ends of mRNAs. Furthermore, PCIF1 catalyzes only 5' m6Am methylation of capped mRNAs but not internal m6A methylation in vitro and in vivo. To study the biological role of m6Am, we developed a robust methodology (m6Am-Exo-Seq) to map its transcriptome-wide distribution, which revealed no global crosstalk between m6Am and m6A under assayed conditions, suggesting that m6Am is functionally distinct from m6A. Importantly, we find that m6Am does not alter mRNA transcription or stability but negatively impacts cap-dependent translation of methylated mRNAs. Together, we identify the only human mRNA m6Am methyltransferase and demonstrate a mechanism of gene expression regulation through PCIF1-mediated m6Am mRNA methylation.
Project description:Various methyltransferases and demethylases catalyse methylation and demethylation of N6-methyladenosine (m6A) and N6,2'-O-dimethyladenosine (m6Am) but precise methylomes uniquely mediated by each methyltransferase/demethylase are still lacking. Here, we develop m6A-Crosslinking-Exonuclease-sequencing (m6ACE-seq) to map transcriptome-wide m6A and m6Am at quantitative single-base-resolution. This allows for the generation of a comprehensive atlas of distinct methylomes uniquely mediated by every individual known methyltransferase or demethylase. Our atlas reveals METTL16 to indirectly impact manifold methylation targets beyond its consensus target motif and highlights the importance of precision in mapping PCIF1-dependent m6Am. Rather than reverse RNA methylation, we find that both ALKBH5 and FTO instead maintain their regulated sites in an unmethylated steady-state. In FTO's absence, anomalous m6Am disrupts snRNA interaction with nuclear export machinery, potentially causing aberrant pre-mRNA splicing events.
Project description:mRNAs are regulated by nucleotide modifications that influence their cellular fate. Two of the most abundant modified nucleotides are N6-methyladenosine (m6A), found within mRNAs, and N6,2'-O-dimethyladenosine (m6Am), which is found at the first transcribed nucleotide. Distinguishing these modifications in mapping studies has been difficult. Here, we identify and biochemically characterize PCIF1, the methyltransferase that generates m6Am. We find that PCIF1 binds and is dependent on the m7G cap. By depleting PCIF1, we generated transcriptome-wide maps that distinguish m6Am and m6A. We find that m6A and m6Am misannotations arise from mRNA isoforms with alternative transcription start sites (TSSs). These isoforms contain m6Am that maps to "internal" sites, increasing the likelihood of misannotation. We find that depleting PCIF1 does not substantially affect mRNA translation but is associated with reduced stability of a subset of m6Am-annotated mRNAs. The discovery of PCIF1 and our accurate mapping technique will facilitate future studies to characterize m6Am's function.
Project description:Internal bases in mRNA can be subjected to modifications that influence the fate of mRNA in cells. One of the most prevalent modified bases is found at the 5' end of mRNA, at the first encoded nucleotide adjacent to the 7-methylguanosine cap. Here we show that this nucleotide, N6,2'-O-dimethyladenosine (m6Am), is a reversible modification that influences cellular mRNA fate. Using a transcriptome-wide map of m6Am we find that m6Am-initiated transcripts are markedly more stable than mRNAs that begin with other nucleotides. We show that the enhanced stability of m6Am-initiated transcripts is due to resistance to the mRNA-decapping enzyme DCP2. Moreover, we find that m6Am is selectively demethylated by fat mass and obesity-associated protein (FTO). FTO preferentially demethylates m6Am rather than N6-methyladenosine (m6A), and reduces the stability of m6Am mRNAs. Together, these findings show that the methylation status of m6Am in the 5' cap is a dynamic and reversible epitranscriptomic modification that determines mRNA stability.
Project description:mRNAs are regulated by nucleotide modifications that influence their cellular fate. Two of the most abundant modified nucleotides are N6-methyladenosine (m6A), found within mRNAs, and N6,2′-O-dimethyladenosine (m6Am), which is found at the first transcribed nucleotide. Distinguishing these modifications in mapping studies has been difficult. Here, we identify and biochemically characterize PCIF1, the methyltransferase that generates m6Am. We find that PCIF1 binds and is dependent on the m7G cap. By depleting PCIF1, we generated transcriptome-wide maps that distinguish m6Am and m6A. We find that m6A and m6Am misannotations arise from mRNA isoforms with alternative transcription start sites (TSSs). These isoforms contain m6Am that maps to “internal” sites, increasing the likelihood of misannotation. We find that depleting PCIF1 does not substantially affect mRNA translation but is associated with reduced stability of a subset of m6Am-annotated mRNAs. The discovery of PCIF1 and our accurate mapping technique will facilitate future studies to characterize m6Am’s function. Overall design: Putatitive N6-methyltransferases were investigated to find the m6Am writer. This revealed PCIF1 as the only m6Am writer. We generated knockout HEK293T cell lines to study transcript stability, translation rates, and performed miCLIP.
Project description:FTO, the first RNA demethylase discovered, mediates the demethylation of internal N6-methyladenosine (m6A) and N6, 2-O-dimethyladenosine (m6Am) at the +1 position from the 5' cap in mRNA. Here we demonstrate that the cellular distribution of FTO is distinct among different cell lines, affecting the access of FTO to different RNA substrates. We find that FTO binds multiple RNA species, including mRNA, snRNA, and tRNA, and can demethylate internal m6A and cap m6Am in mRNA, internal m6A in U6 RNA, internal and cap m6Am in snRNAs, and N1-methyladenosine (m1A) in tRNA. FTO-mediated demethylation has a greater effect on the transcript levels of mRNAs possessing internal m6A than the ones with cap m6Am in the tested cells. We also show that FTO can directly repress translation by catalyzing m1A tRNA demethylation. Collectively, FTO-mediated RNA demethylation occurs to m6A and m6Am in mRNA and snRNA as well as m1A in tRNA.
Project description:U2 is the most extensively modified of all spliceosomal snRNAs. We previously showed that at least some of the internally modified nucleotides in U2 snRNA are required for snRNP biogenesis and pre-mRNA splicing. Recent work from several laboratories suggests that nuclear guide RNAs facilitate U2 snRNA internal modification, including pseudouridylation and 2'-O-methylation. Here, we present a novel approach to identifying guide RNAs for U2 pseudouridylation. Several Xenopus oocyte nuclear RNAs were affinity selected with U2 snRNA substituted with 5-fluorouridine, a pseudouridylation inhibitor that sequesters pseudouridylases. One of these RNAs was sequenced and found to be a novel RNA of 134 nt. This small RNA contains an H/ACA motif and folds into a typical H/ACA RNA structure, and its authenticity as an H/ACA RNA was confirmed by immunoprecipitation analysis. The RNA contains two guide sequences for pseudouridylation (psi) of U2 snRNA at positions 34 and 44 in the branch-site recognition region, and we demonstrate that this RNA indeed guides the formation of psi34 and psi44 in U2 using a Xenopus oocyte reconstitution system. Therefore, this novel RNA was designated pugU2-34/44, for pseudouridylation guide for U2 snRNA U34 and U44. Intranuclear localization analyses indicate that pugU2-34/44 resides within the nucleoplasm rather than nucleoli or Cajal bodies where other guide RNAs have been localized. Our results clarify the mechanism of U2 snRNA pseudouridylation in Xenopus oocytes, and have interesting implications with regard to the intranuclear localization of U2 snRNA pseudouridylation.
Project description:N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is the most abundant modified base in eukaryotic mRNA and has been linked to diverse effects on mRNA fate and function. Current m6A mapping approaches rely on immunoprecipitation of m6A-containing RNA fragments to identify regions of transcripts that contain m6A. This approach localizes m6A residues to 100-200 nt-long regions of transcripts. The precise position of m6A in mRNAs cannot be identified on a transcriptome-wide level because there are no chemical methods to distinguish between m6A and adenosine. Here we show that anti-m6A antibodies can induce specific mutational signatures at m6A residues after ultraviolet light-induced antibody-RNA crosslinking and reverse transcription. Similarly, we find these antibodies induce mutational signatures at N6, 2’-O-dimethyladenosine (m6Am), a nucleotide found at the first encoded position of certain mRNAs. Using these mutational signatures, we map m6A and m6Am at single-nucleotide resolution in human and mouse mRNA and identify snoRNAs as a novel class of m6A-containing ncRNAs. UV-crosslinking and immunoprecipitation with m6A-specific antibodies was used to map m6A and m6Am in cellular RNA with single nucleotide resolution.