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J Am Chem Soc. 2013 Dec 26;135(51):19079-82. doi: 10.1021/ja4105792. Epub 2013 Dec 11.

Identification of a selective polymerase enables detection of N(6)-methyladenosine in RNA.

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Department of Chemistry, Stanford University , Stanford, California 94305, United States.


N(6)-methyladenosine (m(6)A) is the most abundant mRNA modification and has important links to human health. While recent studies have successfully identified thousands of mammalian RNA transcripts containing the modification, it is extremely difficult to identify the exact location of any specific m(6)A. Here we have identified a polymerase with reverse transcriptase activity (from Thermus thermophilus) that is selective by up to 18-fold for incorporation of thymidine opposite unmodified A over m(6)A. We show that the enzyme can be used to locate and quantify m(6)A in synthetic RNAs by analysis of pausing bands, and have used the enzyme in tandem with a nonselective polymerase to locate the presence and position of m(6)A in high-abundance cellular RNAs. By this approach we demonstrate that the long-undetermined position of m(6)A in mammalian 28S rRNA is nucleotide 4190.

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