Research Article

Cap-specific terminal N6-methylation of RNA by an RNA polymerase II–associated methyltransferase

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Science  11 Jan 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6423, eaav0080
DOI: 10.1126/science.aav0080

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A cap-specific m6A writer

N6,2′-O-dimethyladenosine (m6Am) is present at the transcription start nucleotide of capped mRNAs in vertebrates. Akichika et al. quantified the abundance of this modification in the transcriptome and identified the writer protein, cap-specific adenosine methyltransferase (CAPAM), needed for this modification. CAPAM contains a unique structure that recognizes cap-specific N6-methyladenosine (m6A) as the substrate. The protein interacts with RNA polymerase II, suggesting that the modification occurs cotranscriptionally. The m6Am promotes the translation of capped mRNAs in a eIF4E-independent fashion.

Science, this issue p. eaav0080