A quantitative model predicts how m6A reshapes the kinetic landscape of nucleic acid hybridization and conformational transitions.
N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is a post-transcriptional modification that controls gene expression by recruiting proteins to RNA sites. The modification also slows biochemical processes through mechanisms that are not understood. Using temperature-dependent (20°C-65°C) NMR relaxation dispersion, we show that m6A pairs with uridine with the methylamino group in the anti conformation to form a Watson-Crick base pair that transiently exchanges on the millisecond timescale with a singly hydrogen-bonded low-populated (1%) mismatch-like conformation in which the methylamino group is syn. This ability to rapidly interchange between Watson-Crick or mismatch-like forms, combined with different syn:anti isomer preferences when paired (~1:100) versus unpaired (~10:1), explains how m6A robustly slows duplex annealing without affecting melting at elevated temperatures via two pathways in which isomerization occurs before or after duplex annealing. Our model quantitatively predicts how m6A reshapes the kinetic landscape of nucleic acid hybridization and conformational transitions, and provides an explanation for why the modification robustly slows diverse cellular processes.
Liu, B; Shi, H; Rangadurai, A; Nussbaumer, F; Chu, C-C; Erharter, KA; Case, DA; Kreutz, C; Al-Hashimi, HM
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
Pubmed Central ID
Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)