Lately, at the EpiGenie HQ, we’ve had our mind on methylation and our money on RNA. Not just limited to DNA or Cytosine, we’ve seen that N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is a highly dynamic mark in RNA that has a critical role in stem cell differentiation. Now researchers from the Northwestern Polytechnical University in China have set out to find how m6A dynamics work on an a broader scale and differ across cell-type and environment to affect gene function, while also examining which enzymes are responsible for this new layer of regulation.
By conducting a meta-analysis of of 10 m6A MeRIP-Seq datasets to learn more about the epitranscriptome, here’s what they found:
- 42 758 m6A sites.
- These RNA methylation sites can be divided in 3 co-methylated clusters, suggesting some common players regulating the epitranscriptome.
- They also examined a number of different computational clustering methods on the m6A patterns, with all pointing towards the existence of co-methylation patterns.
- By looking at a known m6A regulator (FTO) they identified a large amount of m6A sites that overlap with FTO target sites.
Interestingly, the m6A co-methylation patterns identified overlap with a number of cancer and neuronal disease functions that are enriched for in the co-methylated clusters indicating that these fundamental biological processes might be regulated at the level of the epitranscriptome.
This area could hold great promise for pharmaceutical manipulation and clinical translation of the epitranscriptome and it’s master regulators. The group hopes that the identification of these clusters will lead to more discoveries on the regulation of the epitransciptome.
Learn more about the RNA methylome in Molecular Biosystems, November 2014