Published on Jan. 1, 2013 in Nat Commun volume 4.
PubMed ID: 23653210
N(6)-methyladenosine is a prevalent internal modification in messenger RNA and non-coding RNA affecting various cellular pathways. Here we report the discovery of two additional modifications, N(6)-hydroxymethyladenosine (hm(6)A) and N(6)-formyladenosine (f(6)A), in mammalian messenger RNA. We show that Fe(II)- and alpha-ketoglutarate-dependent fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) protein oxidize N(6)-methyladenosine to generate N(6)-hydroxymethyladenosine as an intermediate modification, and N(6)-formyladenosine as a further oxidized product. N(6)-hydroxymethyladenosine and N(6)-formyladenosine have half-life times of ~3 h in aqueous solution under physiological relevant conditions, and are present in isolated messenger RNA from human cells as well as mouse tissues. These previously unknown modifications derived from the prevalent N(6)-methyladenosine in messenger RNA, formed through oxidative RNA demethylation, may dynamically modulate RNA-protein interactions to affect gene expression regulation.