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mRNA adenosine methylase (MTA) deposits m6A on pri-miRNAs to modulate miRNA biogenesis in Arabidopsis thaliana

By Susheel Sagar Bhat, Dawid Bielewicz, Natalia Grzelak, Tomasz Gulanicz, Zsuzsanna Bodi, Lukasz Szewc, Mateusz Bajczyk, Jakub Dolata, Dariusz J. Smolinski, Rupert G. Fray, Artur Jarmolowski, Zofia Szweykowska-Kulinska

Posted 22 Feb 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/557900 (published DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2003733117)

m6A, one of the most abundant mRNA modifications, has been associated with various metabolic processes in plants. Here we show that m6A also plays a role in miRNA biogenesis in Arabidopsis thaliana. Significant reductions in plant m6A/MTA levels results in lower accumulation of miRNAs whereas pri-miRNA levels tend to be higher in such plants. m6A-IP Seq and MTA-GFP RIP were used to show that many pri-miRNAs are m6A methylated and are bound by MTA, further demonstrating that pri-miRNAs can also be substrates for m6A methylation by MTA. We report that MTA interacts with RNA Pol II, supporting the assumption that m6A methylation is a co-transcriptional process, and also identify TGH, a known miRNA biogenesis related protein, as a novel protein that interacts with MTA. Finally, reduced levels of miR393b may partially explain the strong auxin insensitivity seen in Arabidopsis plants with reduced m6A levels.

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