Principles of mRNA targeting via the Arabidopsis m < sup > 6 < /sup > A-binding protein ECT2

Specific recognition ofN6-methyladenosine (m6A) in mRNA by RNA-binding proteins containing a YT521-B homology (YTH) domain is important in eukaryotic gene regulation. The Arabidopsis YTH-domain protein ECT2 is thought to bind to mRNA at URU(m6A)Y sites, yet RR(m6A)CH is the canonical m6A consensus site in all eukaryotes and ECT2 functions require m6A binding activity. Here, we apply iCLIP (individual-nucleotide resolution cross-linking and immunoprecipitation) and HyperTRIBE (targets of RNA-binding proteins identified by editing) to define high-quality target sets of ECT2, and analyze the patterns of enriched sequence motifs around ECT2 crosslink sites. Our analyses show that ECT2 does in fact bind to RR(m6A)CH. Pyrimidine-rich motifs are enriched around, but not at m6A-sites, reflecting a preference forN6-adenosine methylation of RRACH/GGAU islands in pyrimidine-rich regions. Such motifs, particularly oligo-U and UNUNU upstream of m6A sites, are also implicated in ECT2 binding via its intrinsically disordered region (IDR). Finally, URUAY-type motifs are enriched at ECT2 crosslink sites, but their distinct properties suggest function as sites of competition between binding of ECT2 and as yet unidentified RNA-binding proteins. Our study provides coherence between genetic and molecular studies of m6A-YTH function in plants, and reveals new insight into the mode of RNA recognition by YTH-domain-containing proteins.
Source: eLife - Category: Biomedical Science Tags: Genetics and Genomics Plant Biology Source Type: research