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N6-methyladenosine mRNA marking promotes selective translation of regulons required for human erythropoiesis

By Daniel A. Kuppers, Sonali Arora, Yiting Lim, Andrea Lim, Lucas Carter, Philip Corrin, Christopher L. Plaisier, Ryan Basom, Jeffrey J. Delrow, Shiyan Wang, Housheng Hansen He, Beverly Torok-Storb, Andrew C. Hsieh, Patrick J. Paddison

Posted 31 Oct 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/457648 (published DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-12518-6)

Many of the regulatory features governing erythrocyte specification, maturation, and associated disorders remain enigmatic. To identify new regulators of erythropoiesis, we performed a functional genomic screen for genes affecting expression of the erythroid marker CD235a/GYPA. Among validating hits were genes coding for the N6-methyladenosine (m6A) mRNA methyltransferase (MTase) complex, including, METTL14, METTL3, and WTAP. We found that m6A MTase activity promotes erythroid gene expression programs and lineage specification through selective translation of >200 m6A marked mRNAs, including those coding for SETD methyltransferase, ribosome, and polyA RNA binding proteins. Remarkably, loss of m6A marks resulted in dramatic loss of H3K4me3 across key erythroid-specific KLF1 transcriptional targets (e.g., Heme biosynthesis genes). Further, each m6A MTase subunit and a subset of their mRNAs targets, including BRD7, CXXC1, PABPC1, PABPC4, STK40, and TADA2B, were required for erythroid specification. Thus, m6A mRNA marks promote the translation of a network of genes required for human erythropoiesis.

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