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RNA Modifications: Reversal Mechanisms And Cancer.

A new interesting article has been published in Biochemistry. 2018 Oct 22. doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.8b00949. [Epub ahead of print] and titled:

RNA Modifications: Reversal Mechanisms And Cancer.

Authors of this article are:

Thapar R, Bacolla A, Oyeniran C, Brickner J, Chinnam NB, Mosammaparast N, Tainer J.

A summary of the article is shown below:

An emerging molecular understanding of RNA alkylation and its removal are transforming our knowledge of RNA biology and its interplay with cancer chemotherapy responses. DNA modifications are known to perform critical functions depending on the genome template, including gene expression, DNA replication timing, and DNA damage protection. Yet, current results suggest that the chemical diversity of DNA modifications pales in comparison to those on RNA. Over 150 RNA modifications have been identified to date, and their complete functional implications are still being unveiled. These include intrinsic roles such as proper processing and RNA maturation; emerging evidence has furthermore uncovered RNA modification ‘readers’, seemingly analogous to those identified for histone modifications. These modification recognition factors may regulate mRNA stability, localization, and interaction with translation machinery, affecting gene expression. Not surprisingly, tumors differentially modulate factors involved in expressing these marks, contributing both to tumorigenesis and responses to alkylating chemotherapy. Here we describe current understanding of RNA modifications and their removal, with a focus primarily on methylation and alkylation as functionally relevant changes to the transcriptome. Intriguingly, some of the same RNA modifications elicited by physiological processes are also produced by alkylating agents, thus blurring the lines between what is a physiological mark versus a damage-induced modification. Furthermore, we find that high gene expression of enzymes with RNA dealkylation activity is a sensitive readout for poor survival in four different cancer types, underscoring the likely importance of examining RNA dealkylation mechanisms to cancer biology and for cancer treatment and prognosis.

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