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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Feb 19;116(8):2919-2924. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1820574116. Epub 2019 Feb 4.

Structural insights into FTO's catalytic mechanism for the demethylation of multiple RNA substrates.

Author information

1
Synthetic and Functional Biomolecules Center, Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences, Key Laboratory of Bioorganic Chemistry and Molecular Engineering of Ministry of Education, College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China.
2
Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200025, China.
3
State Key Laboratory of Natural and Biomimetic Drugs, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100191, China.
4
Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200025, China; liangzhang2014@sjtu.edu.cn guifangjia@pku.edu.cn.
5
Synthetic and Functional Biomolecules Center, Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences, Key Laboratory of Bioorganic Chemistry and Molecular Engineering of Ministry of Education, College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China; liangzhang2014@sjtu.edu.cn guifangjia@pku.edu.cn.
6
Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Genomics, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China.

Abstract

FTO demethylates internal N 6-methyladenosine (m6A) and N 6,2'-O-dimethyladenosine (m6Am; at the cap +1 position) in mRNA, m6A and m6Am in snRNA, and N 1-methyladenosine (m1A) in tRNA in vivo, and in vitro evidence supports that it can also demethylate N 6-methyldeoxyadenosine (6mA), 3-methylthymine (3mT), and 3-methyluracil (m3U). However, it remains unclear how FTO variously recognizes and catalyzes these diverse substrates. Here we demonstrate-in vitro and in vivo-that FTO has extensive demethylation enzymatic activity on both internal m6A and cap m6Am Considering that 6mA, m6A, and m6Am all share the same nucleobase, we present a crystal structure of human FTO bound to 6mA-modified ssDNA, revealing the molecular basis of the catalytic demethylation of FTO toward multiple RNA substrates. We discovered that (i) N 6-methyladenine is the most favorable nucleobase substrate of FTO, (ii) FTO displays the same demethylation activity toward internal m6A and m6Am in the same RNA sequence, suggesting that the substrate specificity of FTO primarily results from the interaction of residues in the catalytic pocket with the nucleobase (rather than the ribose ring), and (iii) the sequence and the tertiary structure of RNA can affect the catalytic activity of FTO. Our findings provide a structural basis for understanding the catalytic mechanism through which FTO demethylates its multiple substrates and pave the way forward for the structure-guided design of selective chemicals for functional studies and potential therapeutic applications.

KEYWORDS:

FTO; RNA demethylase; RNA modification; enzyme catalysis; structure

PMID:
30718435
PMCID:
PMC6386707
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1820574116
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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