RNA enzyme ensures development of red blood cells by safeguarding genome integrity

Mice show METTL in DNA blood repair
RNA N6-methyladenosine (m6A) methyltransferase, METTL16, promotes erythropoiesis by supporting genome integrity by regulating DNA-repair-related genes. Credit: KyotoU/Global Comms

The body needs a lot of blood. In humans, 200 billion new erythrocytes—or red blood cells—are generated daily by erythropoiesis, a multi-step process starting from blood-related stem cells, requiring rigorous maintenance of DNA integrity. Until now, this has remained a poorly understood molecular mechanism.

A team of researchers led by Kyoto University's Osamu Takeuchi has now discovered that METTL16 RNA enzyme for RNA methylation, a biochemical modification that follows transcription, is necessary for erythropoiesis.

"We did not expect METTL16-mediated mRNA methylation to be associated with DNA repair," says the lead author, alluding to the complexities involved in erythropoiesis. The team also found that this regulation requires a specific exosome, a key component of RNA degradation.

Since the dysfunction of erythropoiesis leads to many hematological diseases such as anemia, the team has set out to investigate this process systematically across the for other post-transcriptional regulating processes.

Takeuchi adds, "Tiny methyl groups introduced into specific mRNAs play a pivotal role in erythropoiesis, which involve mechanisms mediated by RNA-binding proteins."

"Our in vivo and in vitro analyses appear to support the model that the control of DNA repair in undeveloped blood cells is a key process in the regulation of their differentiation and production."

The paper "The N6-methyladenosine methyltransferase METTL16 enables erythropoiesis through safeguarding genome integrity" was published on October 28, 2022 in Nature Communications.

More information: Masanori Yoshinaga et al, The N6-methyladenosine methyltransferase METTL16 enables erythropoiesis through safeguarding genome integrity, Nature Communications (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-34078-y

Journal information: Nature Communications

Provided by Kyoto University

Citation: RNA enzyme ensures development of red blood cells by safeguarding genome integrity (2022, November 29) retrieved 27 January 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2022-11-rna-enzyme-red-blood-cells.html
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