DOI: 10.7554/elife.87283.3 ISSN:

A cleaved METTL3 potentiates the METTL3–WTAP interaction and breast cancer progression

Chaojun Yan, Jingjing Xiong, Zirui Zhou, Qifang Li, Chuan Gao, Mengyao Zhang, Liya Yu, Jinpeng Li, Ming-Ming Hu, Chen-Song Zhang, Cheguo Cai, Haojian Zhang, Jing Zhang
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Medicine
  • General Neuroscience

N6-methyladenosine (m6A) methylation of RNA by the methyltransferase complex (MTC), with core components including METTL3–METTL14 heterodimers and Wilms’ tumor 1-associated protein (WTAP), contributes to breast tumorigenesis, but the underlying regulatory mechanisms remain elusive. Here, we identify a novel cleaved form METTL3a (residues 239–580 of METTL3). We find that METTL3a is required for the METTL3–WTAP interaction, RNA m6A deposition, as well as cancer cell proliferation. Mechanistically, we find that METTL3a is essential for the METTL3–METTL3 interaction, which is a prerequisite step for recruitment of WTAP in MTC. Analysis of m6A sequencing data shows that depletion of METTL3a globally disrupts m6A deposition, and METTL3a mediates mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) activation via m6A-mediated suppression of TMEM127 expression. Moreover, we find that METTL3 cleavage is mediated by proteasome in an mTOR-dependent manner, revealing positive regulatory feedback between METTL3a and mTOR signaling. Our findings reveal METTL3a as an important component of MTC, and suggest the METTL3a–mTOR axis as a potential therapeutic target for breast cancer.

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