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      FTO controls reversible m6Am RNA methylation during snRNA biogenesis

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          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, m 1 and m 2 , reflecting the methylation state of the adenosine adjacent to the snRNA cap. We find that snRNA biogenesis involves the formation of an initial m 1 -isoform with a single-methylated adenosine (2’- O -methyladenosine, Am), which is then converted to a dimethylated m 2 -isoform ( N 6 ,2’- O -dimethyladenosine, m 6 Am). The relative m 1 - and m 2 -isoform levels are determined by the RNA demethylase FTO, which selectively demethylates the m 2 -isoform. We show FTO is inhibited by the oncometabolite D-2-hydroxyglutarate, resulting in increased m 2 -snRNA levels. Furthermore, cells that exhibit high m 2 -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.

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          Most cited references39

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          Inactivation of the Fto gene protects from obesity.

          Several independent, genome-wide association studies have identified a strong correlation between body mass index and polymorphisms in the human FTO gene. Common variants in the first intron define a risk allele predisposing to obesity, with homozygotes for the risk allele weighing approximately 3 kilograms more than homozygotes for the low risk allele. Nevertheless, the functional role of FTO in energy homeostasis remains elusive. Here we show that the loss of Fto in mice leads to postnatal growth retardation and a significant reduction in adipose tissue and lean body mass. The leanness of Fto-deficient mice develops as a consequence of increased energy expenditure and systemic sympathetic activation, despite decreased spontaneous locomotor activity and relative hyperphagia. Taken together, these experiments provide, to our knowledge, the first direct demonstration that Fto is functionally involved in energy homeostasis by the control of energy expenditure.
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            N6-methyladenosine demethylase FTO targets pre-mRNAs and regulates alternative splicing and 3′-end processing

            Abstract N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is the most abundant base modification found in messenger RNAs (mRNAs). The discovery of FTO as the first m6A mRNA demethylase established the concept of reversible RNA modification. Here, we present a comprehensive transcriptome-wide analysis of RNA demethylation and uncover FTO as a potent regulator of nuclear mRNA processing events such as alternative splicing and 3΄ end mRNA processing. We show that FTO binds preferentially to pre-mRNAs in intronic regions, in the proximity of alternatively spliced (AS) exons and poly(A) sites. FTO knockout (KO) results in substantial changes in pre-mRNA splicing with prevalence of exon skipping events. The alternative splicing effects of FTO KO anti-correlate with METTL3 knockdown suggesting the involvement of m6A. Besides, deletion of intronic region that contains m6A-linked DRACH motifs partially rescues the FTO KO phenotype in a reporter system. All together, we demonstrate that the splicing effects of FTO are dependent on the catalytic activity in vivo and are mediated by m6A. Our results reveal for the first time the dynamic connection between FTO RNA binding and demethylation activity that influences several mRNA processing events.
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              SMN deficiency causes tissue-specific perturbations in the repertoire of snRNAs and widespread defects in splicing.

              The survival of motor neurons (SMN) protein is essential for the biogenesis of small nuclear RNA (snRNA)-ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs), the major components of the pre-mRNA splicing machinery. Though it is ubiquitously expressed, SMN deficiency causes the motor neuron degenerative disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). We show here that SMN deficiency, similar to that which occurs in severe SMA, has unexpected cell type-specific effects on the repertoire of snRNAs and mRNAs. It alters the stoichiometry of snRNAs and causes widespread pre-mRNA splicing defects in numerous transcripts of diverse genes, preferentially those containing a large number of introns, in SMN-deficient mouse tissues. These findings reveal a key role for the SMN complex in RNA metabolism and in splicing regulation and indicate that SMA is a general splicing disease that is not restricted to motor neurons.

                Author and article information

                Nature Chemical Biology
                Nat Chem Biol
                Springer Nature
                February 18 2019
                © 2019




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