RNA Modifications in Biology

RNA modifications are prevalent, dynamic and important for regulating nearly every stage of an RNA’s life in the cell. In particular, we are interested in an RNA modification called N6-methyladenosine (m6A). The m6A modification has been shown to modulate splicing, subcellular localization, translation, and half-life of mRNAs. Dysregulation of the enzymes associated with m6A has been linked to developmental disorders and diseases, including cancer. We are investigating how the m6A modification machinery selects their RNA targets for specific and controlled methylation, and how the activities of these enzymes are further regulated in the cell. We aim to characterize the similarities and differences among these methyltransferases biochemically, and to further our understanding of aberrant methyltransferase activity in development and disease.