How Natural Enzymes and Synthetic Ribozymes Generate Methylated Nucleotides in RNA


Höbartner C, Bohnsack KE, Bohnsack MT


Annual Review of Biochemistry


Annu Rev Biochem. 2024 Apr 10.


Methylation of RNA nucleotides represents an important layer of gene expression regulation, and perturbation of the RNA methylome is associated with pathophysiology. In cells, RNA methylations are installed by RNA methyltransferases (RNMTs) that are specialized to catalyze particular types of methylation (ribose or different base positions). Furthermore, RNMTs must specifically recognize their appropriate target RNAs within the RNA-dense cellular environment. Some RNMTs are catalytically active alone and achieve target specificity via recognition of sequence motifs and/or RNA structures. Others function together with protein cofactors that can influence stability, S-adenosyl-L-methionine binding, and RNA affinity as well as aiding specific recruitment and catalytic activity. Association of RNMTs with guide RNAs represents an alternative mechanism to direct site-specific methylation by an RNMT that lacks intrinsic specificity. Recently, ribozyme-catalyzed methylation of RNA has been achieved in vitro, and here, we compare these different strategies for RNA methylation from structural and mechanistic perspectives.


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