Published on Aug. 27, 2018 in Nat Cell Biol volume 20(9).
PubMed ID: 30154548
N-methyladenosine (mA) messenger RNA methylation is a gene regulatory mechanism affecting cell differentiation and proliferation in development and cancer. To study the roles of mA mRNA methylation in cell proliferation and tumorigenicity, we investigated human endometrial cancer in which a hotspot R298P mutation is present in a key component of the methyltransferase complex (METTL14). We found that about 70% of endometrial tumours exhibit reductions in mA methylation that are probably due to either this METTL14 mutation or reduced expression of METTL3, another component of the methyltransferase complex. These changes lead to increased proliferation and tumorigenicity of endometrial cancer cells, likely through activation of the AKT pathway. Reductions in mA methylation lead to decreased expression of the negative AKT regulator PHLPP2 and increased expression of the positive AKT regulator mTORC2. Together, these results reveal reduced mA mRNA methylation as an oncogenic mechanism in endometrial cancer and identify mA methylation as a regulator of AKT signalling.