Mol Cell. co-auth.: J-Y. Roignant

Mol Cell. 2021 Jul 20;S1097-2765(21)00503-7. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2021.06.023. Online ahead of print.

6 A RNA methylation regulates promoter- proximal pausing of RNA polymerase II

Junaid Akhtar 1Yoan Renaud 2Steffen Albrecht 3Yad Ghavi-Helm 4Jean-Yves Roignant 5Marion Silies 6Guillaume Junion 7Affiliations expand


RNA polymerase II (RNAP II) pausing is essential to precisely control gene expression and is critical for development of metazoans. Here, we show that the m6A RNA modification regulates promoter-proximal RNAP II pausing in Drosophila cells. The m6A methyltransferase complex (MTC) and the nuclear reader Ythdc1 are recruited to gene promoters. Depleting the m6A MTC leads to a decrease in RNAP II pause release and in Ser2P occupancy on the gene body and affects nascent RNA transcription. Tethering Mettl3 to a heterologous gene promoter is sufficient to increase RNAP II pause release, an effect that relies on its m6A catalytic domain. Collectively, our data reveal an important link between RNAP II pausing and the m6A RNA modification, thus adding another layer to m6A-mediated gene regulation.

Keywords: RNA modification; RNA polymerase II pausing; m(6)A; transcription elongation; transcriptional checkpoint.