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Biochim Biophys Acta Gene Regul Mech. 2019 Mar;1862(3):240-252. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagrm.2018.12.003. Epub 2018 Dec 27.

Post-transcriptional regulation by cytosine-5 methylation of RNA.

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CIC bioGUNE, Bizkaia Technology Park, 48160 Derio, Spain.
Physiology, Cellular Biology and Immunology Department - Biology Faculty. University of Barcelona, Avda. Diagonal 643, 08028 Barcelona. Spain.
CIC bioGUNE, Bizkaia Technology Park, 48160 Derio, Spain; Molecular Mechanisms Program, Centro de Investigación del Cáncer and Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular del Cáncer, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), University of Salamanca, 37007 Salamanca, Spain.. Electronic address:


The recent advent of high-throughput sequencing technologies coupled with RNA modifications detection methods has allowed the detection of RNA modifications at single nucleotide resolution giving a more comprehensive landscape of post-transcriptional gene regulation pathways. In this review, we focus on the occurrence of 5-methylcytosine (m5C) in the transcriptome. We summarise the main findings of the molecular role in post-transcriptional regulation that governs m5C deposition in RNAs. Functionally, m5C deposition can regulate several cellular and physiological processes including development, differentiation and survival to stress stimuli. Despite many aspects concerning m5C deposition in RNA, such as position or sequence context and the fact that many readers and erasers still remain elusive, the overall recent findings indicate that RNA cytosine methylation is a powerful mechanism to post-transcriptionally regulate physiological processes. In addition, mutations in RNA cytosine-5 methyltransferases are associated to pathological processes ranging from neurological syndromes to cancer.


5-Hydroxymethylcytosine; 5-Methylcytosine; Epitranscriptome; Post-transcriptional regulation; RNA methylation; Translation

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