3 years ago

The RNA Modification N6-methyladenosine and Its Implications in Human Disease

Impaired gene regulation lies at the heart of many disorders, including developmental diseases and cancer. Furthermore, the molecular pathways that control gene expression are often the target of cellular parasites, such as viruses. Gene expression is controlled through multiple mechanisms that are coordinated to ensure the proper and timely expression of each gene. Many of these mechanisms target the life cycle of the RNA molecule, from transcription to translation. Recently, another layer of regulation at the RNA level involving RNA modifications has gained renewed interest of the scientific community. The discovery that N 6-methyladenosine (m6A), a modification present in mRNAs and long noncoding RNAs, can be removed by the activity of RNA demethylases, launched the field of epitranscriptomics; the study of how RNA function is regulated through the addition or removal of post-transcriptional modifications, similar to strategies used to regulate gene expression at the DNA and protein level. The abundance of RNA post-transcriptional modifications is determined by the activity of writer complexes (methylase) and eraser (RNA demethylase) proteins. Subsequently, the effects of RNA modifications materialize as changes in RNA structure and/or modulation of interactions between the modified RNA and RNA binding proteins or regulatory RNAs. Disruption of these pathways impairs gene expression and cellular function. This review focuses on the links between the RNA modification m6A and its implications in human diseases.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S1672022917300773

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