N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is a common modification of mRNA with potential roles in fine-tuning the RNA life cycle. Here, we identify a dense network of proteins interacting with METTL3, a component of the methyltransferase complex, and show that three of them (WTAP, METTL14, and KIAA1429) are required for methylation. Monitoring m6A levels upon WTAP depletion allowed the definition of accurate and near single-nucleotide resolution methylation maps and their classification into WTAP-dependent and -independent sites. WTAP-dependent sites are located at internal positions in transcripts, topologically static across a variety of systems we surveyed, and inversely correlated with mRNA stability, consistent with a role in establishing "basal" degradation rates. WTAP-independent sites form at the first transcribed base as part of the cap structure and are present at thousands of sites, forming a previously unappreciated layer of transcriptome complexity. Our data shed light on the proteomic and transcriptional underpinnings of this RNA modification.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)